What Can You Do When Your Employee is Depressed?

When your employee is depressed, the results of their work may affect the entire organization and your attitude as manager is greatly challenged during such moments.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), there are over 300 million affected by depression globally, and this number has increased with 18% since 2005.


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The probability that there are some people affected by depression at your office is huge; or you think you are above statistics. But it’s very hard to spot those people, and even when you do, a simple “you’ll get over this” won’t be enough.

Depression is a disorder that is very hard to accept and the simple fact that these people go through it doesn’t mean they should be left out.

What can you do for those who are depressed:

  • Be open to any kind of discussion you can have with them. You’d be surprised about the causes of their depression or the drama they go through. In order to do this, you must be easy to approach, so your employees will find you easy to talk to;
  • Don’t expect them to come over, meet them halfway, it’s less likely they will approach you with: “Hey, boss! What’s up? I am depressed…”
  • Don’t treat them as if they are helpless;
  • Don’t cancel their objectives and don’t exclude them from the team. Isolation and labeling such as “You know George has some issues, let’s cut him some slack” will only make it worse;
  • The more you talk to your employees, the bigger the chances to identify a problem;
  • Be patient;
  • You should (at least) raise an eyebrow if the number of personal or medical leave days has increased; especially when there is no obvious sign of illness, you should try to find out what’s causing it;
  • It’s the best and most important moment to encourage and state their importance in the team;
  • Be flexible when it comes to their schedule, maybe they need to see a specialist. The quicker the healing, the better for all involved parties;
  • Don’t confuse stress with depression;
  • As a manager, you hold a great responsibility towards them, even when they received specialized medical assistance;
  • Respect their privacy;
  • In the very unlikely situation when an employee comes over to tell you about their condition, you should support them unconditionally;
  • Don’t make any differences between your employees;
  • Be fair. Communication must be (more than ever) a strong point, especially because you have to draw things from them;
  • Makes sure (over and over) that they have your full support and they also must reach the level of performance demanded.

Acknowledge that depression affects the activity of any team and ignoring it it’s not a solution. The manager’s help and that of the other colleagues are extremely important and always appreciated.

Even if it’s not actual therapy, everyone can contribute to making life seem easier for a depressed colleague.  

Good luck healing / alleviating!

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