Depression leads to the loss of around 200 million workdays annually, costing businesses around $17 billion to $44 billion according to the CDC.
This mental illness also increases rates of absenteeism and dips in productivity. Research has indicated that a stressful workplace environment itself can contribute to depression.
Depression doesn’t just mean feeling down. It can also mean poor sleep, concentration, decision-making skills, loss of appetite, suicidal ideation, increased irritability and more.
If left untreated, depression in employees can lead to conflict in the workplace, as well as poor communication and performance. This has increased since the beginning of the pandemic as people stay home and have little social interactions.
So what can employers do to better support employees that are struggling? For starters, business leaders should express compassion and acknowledge that it is a stressful time for all.
Educating workers about the symptoms of depression and encouraging them to reach out to loved ones or a professional can also help.
A survey from the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions revealed that since February, 53% of employers have started providing mental health programs for their employees.
Investing into an employee’s mental health is essential for a work culture that is supportive, community-driven and innovative.