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Demand Stress and Depression in the Workplace

Alcide DeGagné

Delta Partners is pleased to present our newest white paper, Leadership and Engagement: Demand Stress and Depression.

In this paper our president, Alcide DeGagné, discusses the impact of changing corporate culture and the effect that it can have on impacted employees as the balance between the demands on them and the resources available to them becomes misaligned.  As the modern workplace continues to evolve away from the "replaceable cogs" view of talent that lingers from the industrial era to one that values the unique knowledge and abilities of the individual, managers will need to appreciate these challenges and learn how they can impact the climate in which their employees live and work.

 

Employee engagement has been a topic of vital concern to managers for some time now. It is fairly well understood that employees who have high levels of engagement are more likely to exhibit high levels of individual productivity, reduced absenteeism, reduced turnover, and greater job satisfaction.

Doing More with Less

However, few managers are aware of one major barrier to engagement efforts - depression in the workplace.

Jail cell small-213x319As mental illnesses become better understood, we are finding that the stress created by the ever-increasing demands of "doing more with less" are a major contributing factor to the high incidence of depression.  These are not inconsequential issues for our society, particularly as our public health system copes with the pressures of an ageing population and the federal public service deals with the challenge of higher rates of disability claims resulting from anxiety and depression.

Presenteeism

And the problem does not end with those who are missing work.  A new term has been gaining popularity in the press - presenteeism.  This is essentially the opposite of absenteeism; a situation where the employee is physically at work, but is suffering from an illness.  There are many reasons why people would come to work when they are ill, but from a mental health standpoint, it is simply more difficult for those with a physical ailment to be present at work.  And, unfortunately, these effected employees are often identified as those being "disengaged" from their work.

Solutions

The upside to this discussion is that there are steps that any manager can take to improve the situation for their employees to reduce the likelihood of demand related stress.

I encourage you to read my new white paper, Leadership and Engagement: Demand Stress and Depression for a deeper look at these issues and some practical steps that the manager can take to deal with them head on.

And, please, if you have any comments or experience related to mental health issues in the workplace, share them with us in the comments.

Comments

Hi Alcide

This is a timely white paper as I see the stresses that people are under in the Federal Government. There is so much to say about this topic that you could probably write a series of white papers.  The key thought for me: 

It becomes vitally important then for
Managers to develop an understanding
of the work climate and
how it can seed depression, to recognize
when the climate may be
a problem, and what can be
done to avoid or minimize its
occurrence.

Have you heard about chronic mild depression termed dysthymia?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysthymia

It may be useful to distinguish between a sour mood kind of depression and clinical depression. The former can also affect the workplace.

By Bert Zethof on 2011/07/20

Hi Alcide

This is a timely white paper as I see the stresses that people are under in the Federal Government.  There is so much to say about this topic that you could probably write a series of white papers.  The key thought for me: 

It becomes vitally important then for
Managers to develop an understanding
of the work climate and
how it can seed depression, to recognize
when the climate may be
a problem, and what can be
done to avoid or minimize its
occurrence.

Have you heard about chronic mild depression termed dysthymia?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysthymia

It may be useful to distinguish between a sour mood kind of depression and clinical depression. The former can also affect the workplace.

By Bert Zethof on 2011/07/20

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