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Dealing With Depression in the Workplace

May 23, 2008
As the business world evolves and changes, workers are expected to follow suit. Unfortunately, change comes naturally to some while others have trouble adapting. The trick is to find out why certain people are more adaptable than others, and to help those who fall behind catch up with the rest of the group.

The ability to adapt to quickly is vital for both companies and employees. A mood disorder can seriously affect the performance of the most determined and faithful worker. Employers can benefit from understanding how clinical depression and mood disorders are a detriment to productivity in the workplace.

Many workers who find change difficult to cope with suffer from depression and other mood disorders. Attitudes that are conducive to change aren't easily developed by workers who suffer from these ailments. Depression can also breed negativity among other employees, which is a fire that is hard to extinguish. Even worse than its impact on job performance, nearly fifteen percent of people with severe clinical depression end their lives in suicide. Clearly, clinical depression and mood disorders in the workplace can not be ignored.

Managers and supervisors need to be vigilant in order to spot depression in workers. Sudden changes in appearance, personality, attitude or productivity can be a sign of severe depression. A gentle confrontation needs to occur, without any condescension (Knippers, 2006). This will let the worker know that there is a problem, so that they can correct the issue before it escalates. If help is needed, a specialist in mood disorders may need to be consulted. Because untreated depression tends to worsen over time, it is vital to help your employees cope with the problem before it escalates.

By learning the skills to work with those suffering from mood disorders, a great management team can train any employee to be adaptable. Some workers may have to be led a little differently than others, and others need help learning how to handle social interactions. The missing social interactions between people affected by depressions and mood disorders reduce the communication quality.

Those suffering from depression often have difficulty communicating and following directions. That's why it's important that leaders communicate clearly to their employees. Make sure that directions are precise and that employees completely understand what is expected of them, especially in times of change. When a company attempts to make major changes, leaders need to give clear and precise directions and followers need to have a clear understanding of the new direction and vision. One of the major reasons for collaboration and productivity failure is that job descriptions and directions are not clearly understood (Gappmaier, 1997)

One of the hardest things to determine when dealing with an employee afflicted with depression is whether the mood is a temporary emotional state or a serious chemical imbalance. Only a professional is qualified to make a diagnosis. Emotional disorders cost companies millions every year, with over two-thirds of the lost revenue attributed to productivity issues and absenteeism (American Psychiatric Association, 1995). Therefore, it is vital to an organization's success to deal with the issue depression in the workplace.
About the Author
T. Fox researches healthy smoothies ,a mix of blenders and health ingredients, and negative ions , all resulting in collaboration. People perform better when they are healthy.
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