Open dialogue helps depressed workers be more productive

According to a new study, the best way to deal with a depressed worker to to speak with them.

A new academic study has found that employees are more productive when they can speak about their depression with their bosses.

The study, conducted by researchers from the London School of Economics, involved 1,000 managers and employees from 15 different countries – namely the US, UK, Spain, Turkey, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, and Japan.

It found that workers who were not able to speak candidly with their managers about their condition took an additional 4.1 days off work.

“Our research shows that where employers create a culture of avoidance around talking about depression, employees themselves end up avoiding work and even when they return to work they are not as productive as they could be,” said Sara Evans-Lacko, one of the co-authors of the report.

Only 16% of workers surveyed in Japan received any such support from their managers – the least of all the countries. On the other end of the spectrum, 67% of workers surveyed in Mexico stated that they had received such support.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, lack of support within Asian countries was a trend – South Korean and Chinese workers (30% and 27% respectively) were most likely to say their bosses had actively avoided talking about their depression.

In such countries, employees were found to be more likely to take extra time off to deal with their condition.

“More training and better workplace policies could help managers to recognise symptoms sooner and provide support – helping the individual and reducing the cost to employers at the same time,” said Evans-Lacko.


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