Depression has a plus and a minus: There is a generally increased awareness of it than in the past; with the result that it is no longer comes with the stigma it used to earlier. Sadly, the minus point is that there is an increase in numbers of depressed employees, which is an unwanted complement to this increase in awareness.
The depressed employee
There is no one categorization of how a depressed employee works at office. Generally, depressed employees are harmless and nonviolent. They are usually sad and like to be left alone. They tend to become upset for no real reason. They are usually sensitive, in that they mistake people easily and in turn could be mistaken very easily. Depressed employees either work for too long or they stay away from work.
HR and the depressed employee
HR has a major role in helping the organization deal with depressed employees. A good HR plays the role of a counselor. An HR manager may not be able to counsel the depressed employee with the expertise of a professional psychiatrist, but it can make a difference in a profound way to the employee and the organization.
Communicate with other employees
One of the prime roles HR can play in dealing with depressed employees is to communicate to other employees and make them understand that there is a depressed employee in their midst who needs a healing touch. Depressed employees seldom look out for pity or sympathy; they just need a little understanding. This is what HR has to ensure. It has to communicate to other employees and make them understand the importance of a considerate approach towards the depressed employee. They have to be made to understand that it is a clinical condition and that they have to treat such an employee slightly differently from other employees.
Approach to dealing with such employees
They need to be made to understand that chiding, making fun or running away from such an employee is not going to help anyone’s cause. When it comes to dealing with the employee himself, HR can assess what keeps such an employee engaged. It should make sure that the depressed employee’s boss handles such an employee with both care and professionalism. The manager should try to give such an employee as much work as possible, so that there is very little time for the depressed employee to feel lonely. At the same time, the manager should have realistic work expectations from the depressed employee/s, because their productivity levels may or may not be those from regular employees. More than anything else, HR should help organizations understand that depression is not something that can be overcome overnight.
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