Skip to main content

Individual who is suffering from depression, it is also important for leadership to understand the indicators and how they can affect productivity at work.

A study conducted by McKinsey in 2022 showed that 4 of every 10 working in India Inc. are showing high levels of burnout, distress, anxiety, and depression due to a toxic workplace. Needless to say, the health of your workforce matters to the productivity of your organization. Researchers have also found that people with depression are more prone to absenteeism, stress, tearfulness, and mood swings than their counterparts who are not depressed.

How to identify workplace depression?

Depression is not a feeling or emotion. It is a medical condition and should be treated as such. While it may appear that all employees have an equal chance of developing workplace depression, there are certain factors that can make an employee more vulnerable to depression, namely: age, gender and genetics.

It can be difficult to identify depression and there are many reasons for it. For example, people are now more resilient than they were in the past. To add to this work pressure continues to rise year after year. In addition to this prolonged stress wears you down making it hard for you to distinguish if the symptoms you might be suffering from are due to depression or just stress at work.

As a leader, it may be hard for you to tell whether your employees are being affected by workplace depression or not. Here are some of the signs that can signal whether an employee might be suffering from depression.

1. Lack of energy at work:

A significant change in the energy levels of a person is one of the top signs that could signal the onset of depression at work. A person who is depressed will have no motivation to do anything or go anywhere. The first thing that happens to people with depression is that their energy levels start falling sharply, making them less productive. They also may suffer from sleep disorders, which can further affect their performance at work. You may notice your employees spacing off at work or yawning frequently. They may also express a lack of interest in doing any physical activity.

2. Social isolation:

Depression can also make it hard for your employees to connect with other colleagues. They will be less likely to interact with people and avoid team meetings and crowds, which ultimately makes it hard for others to understand their condition. If they are experiencing depression, they will be more irritable and have a low tolerance level. They may not want to go out to lunch or coffee with their colleagues and often avoid office parties and conferences as well.

3. Lack of motivation:

Depressed employees will show a lack of motivation and become apathetic. They will be less likely to complete tasks and more likely to put things off until the last minute. They may also have a tough time coming up with creative ideas and they’ll end up providing low-quality work. 

4. Sickness:

Another common symptom of depression is illness. People suffering from depression often complain of symptoms like nausea, headaches and dizziness due to the fact that they don’t feel well physically or mentally. This can make it hard for employees to complete their tasks and leave them feeling fatigued. They may also be taking long breaks for their illnesses, which can cause a work disruption.

5. Procrastination:

People who are suffering from depression may procrastinate on a lot of their tasks and often have trouble prioritizing. They will also have trouble planning tasks and completing projects on time. Tasks that were critical and important before may now be put on the backburner.

6. Behavior issues:

Another possible sign of employee depression is erratic or negative behavior. They may become extremely irritable, snap at other employees and exhibit other undesirable behaviors. This can hurt the productivity of everyone present at the workplace or put them under a great deal of stress.

These are just some of the top signs that can signal whether an employee might be suffering from depression. However, if you observe any of these symptoms in your employees, it is important that you handle them with care and respect. While there are ways to get help for an individual who is suffering from depression, it is also important for leadership to understand the indicators and how they can affect productivity at work.

If you have an employee who is suffering from depression, it is important that you encourage them to seek depression therapy from a professional.

Coping with depression at workplace

If you want to prevent workplace depression in your employees, there are several ideas that might help you do this. Here are some of the best practices that can help:

1. Be a good listener:

If you’re a leader, it’s important that you set the right tone at work by being kind, friendly and attentive. You must listen to your employees and make sure they feel appreciated, heard and that their ideas are valued. This will make it easier for them to open up and share their thoughts and feelings.

2. Ask them to take frequent breaks:

An easy way to prevent workplace depression is to provide employees with a healthy work-life balance. You can do this by asking your employees to take a break every now and then. Employees who are stressed and burnt out will feel relief if they take frequent breaks. It’s important that you provide a space at work where your employees can relax. If you permit people to take frequent breaks, you’ll be able to help them manage stress better and feel more comfortable about opening up about their feelings and dealing with them.

3. Talk things over:

It’s important that you have regular conversations with your staff so that they know that they are valuable members of the team and they are able to share their concerns and problems with you every now and then. This will help them be more open and willing to share what’s going on with them every day.

4. Help them find treatment:

If you have an employee who is suffering from depression, it is important that you encourage them to seek depression therapy from a professional. However, it is important that you also keep track of how they do while they’re on sick leave.

5. Cut down on their caffeine:

You should also encourage your employees to cut down on the amount of caffeine they consume. This is due to the fact that it can worsen their depression and lead to the development of other issues, like insomnia and anxiety. Limit the type of caffeine available in the office and replace tea and coffee with fresh juice or shakes.

6. Train reporting managers to understand triggers and manage crisis situations:

You can also train your managers to understand the triggers that could mentally or emotionally disturb an employee. They should be able to understand depression and its effects on the employee better and to handle the issues of employees undergoing mental health struggles.

7. Sensitize employees about their mental health crises and colleagues:

It also helps if you try to make sure that your entire team is aware of the importance of managing mental health. You should make them understand the signs of a mental health crisis and they should be able to identify and respond sensitively when one of their colleagues might be dealing with a mental health issue. 

8. Introduce targeted intervention support groups or stress circles:

This is a great way to help employees who are ready to talk or listen about mental health issues. When people are able to talk about their feelings and fears with others, it helps them cope better with their issues. You could introduce stress circles or intervention support groups where they can talk openly and seek help when they need it.


Depression is a common disorder that can affect an employee’s productivity and it can even cause them to quit their job. You will want to be able to prevent depression at work by being understanding, supportive and empathetic. This will help you handle any issues as they arise, while also making your employees feel appreciated and motivated. Try implementing some of the ideas above so that you can reduce the risk of depression in your office.

Composed by: “Harshita Sevaldasani is a tech, finance, marketing and stock market enthusiast who has a flair for writing. Presently she is associated with the Content Strategist at Manoshala, a mental health company that offers holistic well-being solutions.”

InnoHEALTH magazine digital team

Author InnoHEALTH magazine digital team

More posts by InnoHEALTH magazine digital team

Leave a Reply