Combating Workplace Depression

Combating Workplace Depression


Business owners and those charged with risk management duties take on the responsibilities associated with employees’ overall health and well-being.


But aside from physical ailments, mental issues like depression can be just as damaging to an organization. From a risk management standpoint, it can adversely affect productivity and morale and is one of the most common causes of disability. And although there’s growing recognition of the need to address mental health, it still carries enough stigmas and taboos that can make it difficult to discuss openly and honestly.


Even if employees aren’t battling depression in their personal lives, workplace depression is a very serious issue. Luckily, there are some very simple steps that managers can take to combat it, which is better for the organization over the long-term.


Ironically, bad management is one of the leading causes of workplace depression. Employees who don’t feel they can clearly communicate their needs to their supervisors are more likely to become depressed and will not be top performers. Communication is key, and it’s up to managers to establish and maintain those channels throughout the organization.


Prudent management practices involve providing employees with more say over any planned changes in the workplace and its environment, especially those that can have a major impact on daily operations. Along those same lines, safety and health policies need to be periodically reviewed and updated to ensure that they’re current and represent best practices.


Organizational goals need to be clear to employees, and so do their individual duties. Those duties need to be spelled out clearly in the employee handbook and in job descriptions. Everybody likes to have a purpose and feel good about what they do. Employees whose organizations take these basic steps tend to be more motivated when they show up for their shifts.


Employees should also be given flexibility with their workplace hours. Technology has enabled the advent of telecommuting. That is always a good option that more organizations are utilizing to better meet employees’ needs.


Another tool available to employers is to ensure that mental health experts are available to address employees about topics like managing streets and the importance of physical fitness and nutrition. Prudent managers should also encourage employees to engage in fitness activities and charity events, and to form a committee devoted to their wellness.


The staff at ABI Insurance is more than happy to help answer any questions that may come up, to ensure that the entity you’re managing is covered and as protected against risk as possible.


ABI Insurance has additional loss control resources and hotlines for management liability issues. Ask your agent if you have an incident or potential situation developing so they can bring the best resources to bear on your behalf.


For more information on the products and services offered by ABI, call 503-292-1580 or go to