The 8 Symptoms of Depression
1. Reduced productivity – Slower work completion, finish fewer tasks, ask for less work, make errors that cause production delays and be unable to make decisions that enable productivit
2..Personality Changes – Changes how he/she interacts with other people, typically more withdrawn but could also be more disinterested in normal activities, disappears more, has trouble with moral
or ethical questions or problems. The person may engage in more risk taking behavior than previous and/or exhibit flashes of rage and anger. Dramatic mood swings are a common symptom
3. Increased Fatigue – lack of energy and the ability to recover energy quickly, reporting feeling tired, sleeping at the workspace, zoning out during conversations. May talk about insomnia.
4. Lack of Follow-Through – The employee may refuse to do a task including after first agreeing or not. Failure to comply or follow-through when asked, especially when this is not the usual behavior.
5. Increase in errors or difficult remembering tasks – often the employee may not even be aware of the increase errors or forgetfulness.
6. More Passive and even more cooperative – a depressed employee may be argumentative or fail to cooperate but being very passive and compliant can lead to being unable to make decisions and take actions
7. Talks about poor health and/or has more work absences– increased complaints about physical illness and injury with no specific causes cited and/or additional tardiness or absenteeism can impact productivity and performance
8. Speaks about depression and sadness: Speaking/writing about death, suicide, feeling hopeless and that things will never improve
Being supportive of your employee does not mean continuing to accept the employees reduced work performance. Support can mean taking steps to help your business while helping the employee. If you see signs do not approach and ask a person if he/she is depressed. Do not suggest that the person cheer up and look at how good he/she has it compared to other people. Show an interest in the person, listen and demonstrate compassion. Begin with a casual conversation talking about what has been happening in the person’s life.
If you spot an employee who is verging on overwhelm and may be slipping into depression begin to put in place oversight on their work tasks without making it a big deal. Check in with the employee and customer and note what you are hearing. Consider if you want them to interact with the public or if you can find a way to shift some of their work to les critical or demanding projects.
If you suspect depression and offer benefits inform your employee about options for seeking assistance with life’s challenges but to not offer your diagnosis. Just encourage them to go and talk to someone about how they are doing and tell them you will support them in remaining a valued and productive member of your organization.
Helping a mentally ill employee is not only a demonstration of compassion it is also a good business strategy. An investment in training regarding awareness of mental illness across the entire organization can pay dividends in the future by helping you retain a valued employee and creating a workplace culture of help and compassion.