Workplace Depression and ways to manage it

People spent most of their waking hours in workplaces. So, it is imperative to have a healthy and conducive environment in workplaces to foster happiness and mental wellness. The reality is somewhat different; today’s workplaces are becoming a space of the anxious, depressed and the suicidal. Workplace depression is a much avoided topic because of the stigma and biasness it brings in.

People feel reluctant to discuss about their unhappiness; due to fear of being misunderstood. They might also have to face seclusion and deny opportunities for promotion. Again job loss and confidentiality issue is an added concern for employees. This keeps the symptoms behind closed doors and the sufferer faces all sorts of agonies alone.

In face of Depression
Clinical depression can become bad to worse, if left untreated. The primary signs are:-
• Persistent sadness and anxious mood.
• Feeling lonely and hopeless
• Sudden loss of interest in work
• Sleep disturbance and insomnia
• Physical symptoms such as persistent headaches, lack of appetite and chronic digestive problems.
• Difficulty in concentration, errors and forgetting of important things
• Loss of energy and fatigue
• Suicidal ideation
• Social withdrawal
• Indecisiveness
• Frequent crying spells
• Do not enjoy workplace recreations
• Feeling gloomy and thoughtful
If the above symptoms persist for few weeks, individual should think for a supportive therapy by visiting a professional.

Managing symptoms

Employees may feel depressed at workplace due to unhealthy work practices; which may involve excessive workload, more working hours, not satisfied with company policies etc. if depression sets in, it is advisable to continue doing routine tasks and seek help, if needed.

Individual input to restore well being:
1. Self care regime is essential to cope with symptoms. Such practices involve eating healthy diet; ensure good sleep; breathing exercises to keep a relaxed body and mind; regularly spend time with friends and family and discuss work issues with them.
2. Individual should take intermittent breaks from work and prioritize work to avoid last minute rush.
3. Avoid engaging in office politics by keeping a deaf ear to the various comments and conversations it involves.
4. It is important to discuss issues with co workers, friends and take their inputs to resolve workplace problems.
5. It is better to take professional help and feel unashamed to discuss openly with a counselor, if necessary.

Organizational input to restore well being:
Nowadays, employers are focusing on workplace depression, more often than ever before; because depression is a costly affair for organizations in terms of productivity and profits.
1. Awareness programs can be organized in corporate offices for mental wellness.
2. Employees should be encouraged to discuss their problems openly with the management or HR.
3. In house counseling services can be organized for employees
4. EAP should be a part of the organizational structure
5. Healthy working conditions, such as work life balance, conducive working hours, flexible policies should be taken care of

Depression can affect the focus and decision making of the employees, thereby leading to poor work performance. Absenteeism and job dropout can lower productivity and revenue of the organization. Improving access to care and timely intervention can reduce the severity and impact of the condition.