Around the world, more and more employers are paying close attention to the mental health and well-being of their employees? There are numerous reasons for the growing awareness about mental health conditions and their outcomes among businesses and employers.
One of these reasons is the fact that the corporate world has finally begun to realize the real cost of mental health problems and the toll that such problems can take on the workforce. Not only can depression affect the performance of an individual employee, it can also bring down the morale of the entire team and department and affect overall productivity in the organization.
An Overview of Depression
In order to properly understand how depression can affect your performance and productivity at the workplace, we must first understand what exactly depression is and what its major symptoms can look like.
Depression is not just about having a bad day or week. It is far more pervasive than that, and can be extremely destructive. It can affect a person’s ability to function adequately at home and at work. It can affect performance, human relationships, and even the patient’s will to live. Some of the common symptoms of depression are as follows:
- A pervasive feeling of sadness and apathy that lasts for more than two weeks at a time.
- A loss of interest in hobbies and activities that the person enjoyed greatly in the past.
- An inability to make decisions and unexpected difficulties with focus and concentration.
- A sudden change in appetite, where the patient begins overeating or stops eating as much as they used to.
- Problems associated with sleep patterns, such as insomnia or oversleeping.
- Chronic feelings of fatigue and exhaustion, even without having undergone any strenuous activity during the day.
- Pervasive feelings of guilt and worthlessness, combined with self-harm or suicidal ideation.
How Does Depression Affect Workplace Performance?
Left untreated, depression can affect workplace performance in a number of ways. Just like any other illness, it significantly diminishes the patient’s ability to perform at their peak. However, because the symptoms of depression are psychological and behavioral, rather than physiological, it is often not taken as seriously as other ailments such as typhoid or jaundice.
Such neglect can prove to be a mistake and might cost an organization millions in lost revenue. Depression can lead a person to become apathetic and disengaged from their work and their colleagues. They might be physically present at work, yet checked out mentally and emotionally. On the other hand, depression may also lead to plain old absenteeism, when the employee has lost all motivation to put up even the pretense of productivity.
As depression negatively impacts a person’s ability to concentrate and make effective decisions, these factors may hurt employee performance, particularly for those who work in roles that require a lot of focus, clarity, and the ability to think on one’s feet. Communication, time management, and social interactions are some of the other areas of job performance that are affected negatively.
The disengagement and apathy of one employee may also affect the productivity of the team as a whole, especially if the person undergoing depression is in a managerial or leadership role and responsible for motivating their colleagues to get work done on time.
This is why employers should play a key role to help employees undergoing depression or other mental health issues get effective treatment for their condition. An experienced therapist or counselor (from a reputed and trusted practice, organization, or platform such as BetterHelp) can be of immense help in such situations.
As a result of receiving quality and timely treatment, these employees will be able to come back to work fully healed and more effective than ever before! However, for this to happen, corporations need to work with their employees – as well as their families – in order to bring about the required change in mindset and behavior.
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