Don’t Overlook Depressed Employees

Sometimes you just know it’s going to be “one of those days.”

You wake up, pour a fresh cup of coffee, raise it to your lips (that first sip always tastes the best) and … wham! It spills everywhere. Then traffic is unbearable and you’re late to work. Once you arrive, the day only gets worse.

For some people, however, every day is a struggle. Depression hinders their ability to function in the workplace and beyond. It’s an intensely personal condition for employees, but one that can have a profound – and harmful – impact on business’ bottom lines.

According to a compelling Forbes story, depression results in 200 million lost workdays in the United States annually. In addition, 9.5% of the adult population will experience a depressive illness in a given year. Your employees don’t have to suffer in silence. Watch for these symptoms:

  • Increasing frequency of sick days: Is your employee visiting the doctor more often but refuses to tell you the issue even under confidence? Does s/he seem to suffer from more than physical pains that you cannot see? Sometimes common colds, flu, stomachaches are symptoms of stress.
  • Loss of motivation: Does your employee look less enthusiastic at work or when completing his usual duties?
  • Changes in social behavior in the workplace: Those who are sociable withdraw from their friends and colleagues. Those who used to be passive could become aggressive and outspoken all of a sudden.
  • Incomplete duties or tasks: Depression sometimes results in memory loss. Is your employee forgetting some project deadlines or fails to accomplish assigned duties on time?
  • Fatigue, tiredness, excessive yawning: Lethargy is one symptom of depression.
  • Increasing number of absent days for other reasons: Is your colleague taking more leave days than usual with increasing frequency, citing other reasons than sick leave? Or does s/he call in the morning with an excuse they could not arrive at work that day? This could flag a possibility of disinterest in work.