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.

These Pets are Living the High Life

I found out something today about pet pampering that has my tongue wagging (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

It seems that the tokens of affection I present to my pets – extra comfy beds, entertaining toys, trips to the groomer and tasty treats – pale in comparison to the way others dote on their animals.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), U.S. pet owners will spend an estimated $50.84 billion in 2011. What in the world are people spending so much money on?

Food expenses top the list at $19.53 billion. Medical care also ranks high. But, pet owners also are dishing out dollars for luxuries such as massages, manicures, designer duds, travel gear and spa days. Hey, I’ve never had a spa day! Not unless you count the time I had my eyebrows arched and for one terrifying moment thought half of one was missing.

Don’t fret, my pet (just bear with me), it’s not all give and take. The APPA cites several health benefits of pet ownership. Among them:

  • Pets help to lower blood pressure. A recent study at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that people with hypertension who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than those who did not own a pet.
  • Pets help to prevent heart disease. Because pets provide people with faithful companionship, research shows they may also provide their owners with greater psychological stability, thus a measure of protection from heart disease.
  • Pets help to fight depression. Pets help fight depression and loneliness, promoting an interest in life. When seniors face adversity or trauma, affection from pets takes on great meaning. Their bonding behavior can foster a sense of security.

Learn more

Economic Club Speaker was Chided for ‘Outlandish’ Economic Predictions — That Came True

Patrick Byrne, CEO of, was widely criticized by financial professionals and journalists for predicting a global financial crisis more than two years ago. Byrne, a native of Fort Wayne who received his education from Cambridge and Stanford, warned of a market meltdown perpetrated by cheap credit and writing checks on the bank accounts of future generations. The man who took from a half-million dollars in annual revenue to nearly $1 billion annually, takes little pleasure in accurately predicting our current economic situation but continues to advocate for what he feels are positive reforms – specifically to the controversial practice of short selling stocks.

Byrne will appear at the Economic Club of Indiana luncheon in Indianapolis on November 5. Get your tickets today.