Regardless of your employment area and your position, you have probably interacted with co-workers who seem anxious, disconnected or even depressed. Workplace depression is a real thing and it’s starting to have a tangible impact on the office environment.

Depression impacts work productivity negatively because even though they’re fully present at work, depressed individuals cannot function 100 per cent. This phenomenon is called presenteeism. The productivity loss, combined with sick days, makes depression the costliest condition for employers to deal with.

US statistics suggest that depression costs approximately one billion dollars in absenteeism and 26 billion dollars in treatment costs.

Stress in the workplace is one of the most powerful factors that contribute to mental health problems. Thus, effective depression management strategies should aim to reduce stress levels and provide employees with the right tools to cope with the extensive workload, the potential burnout and all of their responsibilities.

Multiple approaches have proven to be effective for the management of workplace depression. Here are a few of the techniques and work environment changes bound to deliver the best results.

Good Working Conditions

The first change and probably the simplest one that mental health professionals recommend is an enhancement in the workplace conditions.

What exactly does that mean when it comes to depression management?

Good working conditions start with an adequate workspace. Sufficient light, bright colours, comfortable furniture and a chance for every single person to personalise their little corner will make employees feel more at ease.

In addition, good working conditions focus on relaxation and taking a break when the going gets tough. A chill-out area or a small café where people can enjoy a warm beverage can do the trick. So can an office gym – exercise has been known to elevate one’s mood and reduce stress levels.

Next, a good workplace could feature live plants, a nursery so that employees don’t have to worry about day care and high quality snacks in the kitchen. These are all simple things that can result in higher employee engagement and reduced burnout.

Scheduling Flexibility

It has long been established that making people spend a certain amount of time at the office doesn’t work. Instead, focus on schedule flexibility – this is one of the best approaches to boost productivity and keep employees happy.

Research suggests that flexible work hours and even reduced work time do not impact productivity negatively. On the contrary – when people have the freedom to work in a comfortable way, they’re likely to do a much better job than in the case of being forced to remain in the office from 9am to 5pm.

Remote working arrangements that allow people to work from home every once in a while also boost employee morale and reduce the risk of workplace depression.

Provide Resources and Awareness

Depression is a sneaky mental health problem. Often, it can go unnoticed for prolonged periods of time until it becomes too late to act.

To be a good and responsible employer, you should take proactive measures to educate workers about depression and to provide them with the right resources for addressing the mental health problem.

Having a psychologist visit the office and carry out a workshop focused on mental health is a great idea, especially if you feel concerned about the current stress level. All people in the company need to understand the issue, not just managers. Anyone could spot the symptoms in a colleague and prompt positive change.

As an employer, you may also consider making anti-depression resources readily available.

There are depression screening possibilities and potential referrals. Just being available to talk to those who seem to be struggling the most can also be quite beneficial.

In the event of actual clinical depression, it’s essential to act fast.

You can schedule an appointment with a psychologist in Singapore and take an employee to these sessions, covering the expenses of the endeavour.

In more serious cases, it would be imperative to seek a qualified psychiatrist in Singapore. Psychiatrists have the training and the certification to prescribe medications upon necessity. Read up about the difference between Psychiatrists and Psychologists in Singapore here.

Do Not Ignore Workplace Depression!

Ignoring the signs of depression in someone and hoping that the problem will go away on its own doesn’t work.

A failure to introduce some of the measures mentioned above is actually going to cost your company a lot in the long run, especially if you work in a high stress industry.

It’s time to increase awareness about the most common mental health problems.

The Singapore Mental Health Study suggests that 5.8 per cent of the adult population in Singapore has suffered from major depressive disorder. The figure is higher than the worldwide average of 4.4 per cent.

These figures paint a grim picture, suggesting that at least a couple of the people that you interact with on a daily basis could be suffering in silence. Adequate treatment options do exist and the sooner you seek assistance, the better the outcome for everyone involved.

When you create a workplace culture of tolerance and awareness, you increase the likelihood of people speaking up and taking good care of each other. Once an issue is identified, it’s only a matter of time for it to be addressed in the best possible manner.

Singapore mental health facilities like Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic offer personalised, holistic and comprehensive depression treatment options. Our team of psychologists and psychiatrists in Singapore, ensures our optimal potential to address the wide array of mental health problems.

If you’re worried that someone at the office is struggling with depression, you should contact us today and schedule an Adelphi appointment immediately.