Literature review – Anxiety and Depression in the Workplace Essay
Literature review – Anxiety and Depression in the Workplace
Emotional concerns in the workplace are a considerable loss to employee’s health and welfare. They slow down the performance of employee and so they are harmful to the organisational well-being as well. This literature review would put forward a concise introduction on the two frequently occurring emotional concerns in the workplace: anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are a usual and adaptive reaction to the individual who is undergoing such emotional problems in our surroundings. They are a normal part of life, and would take place at any time when there are considerable positive or negative changes in one’s life. In general, it is believed that some of the anxiety and depression are challenging and positive one but some are negative where the individuals feel difficult to handle it. Anxiety and depression would take place in personal life as well as work life.
This literature review is mainly focused on how an employee who is suffering from anxiety and depression should behave and at the same time how managers should handle the situations when his/her employee is suffering from anxiety and depression. Analyzations and insinuations of such emotional problems are discussed in this review. Moreover, this literature review is endowed with sensible understanding in support of recognizing and dealing with the anxiety and depression in the workplace. This review also focuses on the role of manager as supporter to the employees by taking necessary initiative steps to decrease the possibilities of anxiety and depression in the workplace. Defining Depression and Anxiety:
Defining the term ‘depression’ is very complex because of the involvement of intrinsic uncertainty. According to , ‘ depression can be witnessed as a condition of mood, as a special symptom manifesting itself in many different mental disorders, as a syndrome measured by depression rating scales, and as a clinical diagnosis operationalised in diagnostic classifications’. (Weiten, 2001) and (Barlow, 2005), who are the psychology book writers, highlighted the debilitating effect that depression has on an individual which was agreed by different researchers and scholars.
Through his findings, Blair stated that depression is severely debilitating and the most common mental health disorder affecting society. This was further detailed in 2000 by Akiskal that irregular depressive mood experienced as low spirits, dejection, and sadness can be a normal reaction to disappointments, adversities, and losses and should be differentiated from depressive disorders, which represent actual psychological illness and are often accompanied by distinct impairment of psychological, somatic, and social functioning . Bender and Furman agreed with Blair and came to the conclusion in 2003 that depression was found to probably be incurable and had raised to become the world’s number one public health problem.
An American judge held that depression is a misleading term for an extremely debilitating illness. (Seligman, et al.,) defined anxiety as “ psychological and physiological state characterized by by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components”. Davison stated that “it is the displeasing feeling of fear and concern” . Depression and Anxiety in the work place:
In the present status of the economy, anxiety and depression in the workplace are the rising concerns where the employees are facing more and more situations of work overload, no job safety, no job satisfaction, and lack of self-sufficiency.
Depression has significant economic impacts relative to lost productivity within the workplace . Workplace anxiety and depression have been exposed to have unfavorable impacts on employees’ health, well-being, workplace productivity, absenteeism, and workplace performance. Lost productivity involves presenteeism, in which the employee is present in the work setting but productivity is reduced due to health concerns or depressive symptoms, or in terms of absenteeism from work . Anxiety normally occurs when an individual senses that he/she is just going to face some circumstances on which he/she will not have control and ability to manage the situations. Particularly, workplace is the main ground where such situations happen to occur. Changes in the company such as restructurings, amalgamations and change in company policies are quite common incidents which take place in an organisation are some of the source anxiety.
Now a day’s most of the organisations are trying to cut off their personnel to the least by putting more pressure on employees and overloading them with more work than their capacity to handle are also one of the main cause of anxiety. In workplace, employees are likely to suffer from anxiety in the following situations; when dealing with austere managers, when there are possibilities of downgrading, being tensed whether they can get their job task completed on time, Panic of getting terminated from their job In any organisations, there are certain existing rules, regulations and company policies which all the employees are enforced to stick on to.
At times, these systems of the company can also cause anxiety and depression to an employee when there is some clash of pursuits between acting based on what he/she thinks is right and what the current system of the company states. Moreover, this situation can be pointed up further when the employees have to pact with customers or with the bond with their colleagues.
Generally all the employees try to relieve their own anxiety and depression either by adjusting with their work environment or by resigning their job. To overcome such situations, individuals as well as organisations can take some initiative steps to ease the harmful impacts of anxiety and depression, or to prevent it from coming up in the initial stage. Effect of Depression and Anxiety:
The course of adjustment to work environment results in employees’ anxiety and depression. Workplace stress is usually caused by employees’ acuity about their position in the organisation and includes the role of variance and role of vagueness. An employee’s perception of his/ her position in the workplace comes up from the job designation, interpersonal bond models, as well as from the emotion of discreteness and relation to others. Workplace depression states several behavior performance and behavioral shortfalls of an individual in the workplace (Lerner, et al., 2004; National Institute of Mental Health, 2011; Wallace, 2011; Wang et al., 2008).
An employee who is suffering from anxiety and depression is affected psychologically, physiologically, cognitively. Some of the psychological effects are aggressiveness, evading societal situations, tapered forbearance to hand stress, loosing temper, becoming impatient deprived motor control. Physiologically, employee can suffer from fast heart beating, clammy hands, often headaches, muscle inflexibleness and aches, difficulties in breathing, indigestion, high blood pressure, frequent mood swings, change in eating habits, falling sick regularly and changes in weight. Anxiety would cognitively affect an individual’s capability of focusing, memory power and motor skills.
Sometimes, an individual may not recall the names of the person whom he/she know or fails to remember what task he/she wanted to do. Depression and anxiety in the workplace would even effect the organisation in terms of financial loss. It was anticipated that 12 billion dollars was lost by the business and industry from lost output, 12 billion dollars was lost from non-attendance, for direct treatment costs business lost 26.1 billion dollars, and 5.4 billion dollars was lost due to death (Greenberg, et al., 2003; Lerner, et al., 2004). How employees should control their anxiety and depression?
There are more possibilities of retaining the talents and experiences of the depressed employee for the organisations, if he/ she takes break for sometime from the work and then return back in a suitable and meaningful role. This would also decrease the possibilities of such occurrence of such situations. Every employee should know how to identify the situations of anxiety and depression and need to make use of personal coping strategies and develop. Employee can use the following methods in coping with their stress ; Meditating – learning Yoga
Spending some time in their hobbies on regular basis
Sharing of feelings with their close ones
Relaxation techniques – profound breathing, progressive relaxation, listening to relaxation music, massage therapy and hot baths Maintaining balanced diet
Depressed employees need enough sleep
Avoid consuming caffeine
Exercising or joining in dance, swimming classes etc.
These techniques will help in muscles relaxing; slowing down the heart beats and reduce emotional problems. This will also help them to concentrate and focus on things and manage anxiety and depression without any difficulty.
Role of Organisation as supporters:
First of all, the organisation should concentrate on the following question to determine where they are going wrong. i. Is there any circumstance that triggers employees’ anxiety in the workplace? ii. Is there any changes taking place in the organisation frequently? iii. Do the new rules and policies are threatening the employees? iv. Is there any terminations frequently done in the company that trigger the anxiety level of the employees? Successful organisations would assist their employees to defy the bigger demands, reduce their panics and negative levels in the market and the country as a whole.
To overcome the emotional problems of the employees, the organisation should start implementing some strategies that can be useful in reducing the effect of depression and anxiety. The approaches are as follows; Company should allow the employer and employees to informal and frank communications so that both can have an opportunity of expressing any apprehensions. Company should have the best policies and procedures in the workplace ensuring the employees’ well-being. Company should send a message stating its support for each employee’s emotional concerns to all the employees. Organisation should aware of the work pressures handled by the employees, percentage of absenteeism and employees’ illness.
They should also review their present policies and systems and indentify the positives and negatives of the same so as to change the policies suitable to the organisation. They should implement mental health policy which shows the commitment of the employer of taking care of all the employees who work for the organisation. This will prove that organisation identifies and agrees to the importance of psychological issues of the employees. Companies should make sure that all the employees feel their importance in the organisation and accept them as a part of the organisation. This will also help to reduce the stress level of the employee. They should implement management training and development with regards to anxiety and depression in the workplace. Training should be provided to employees about anxiety and depression.
They should learn to identify the symptoms of depression on their own.. This will indeed help the employee’s to know recognise their problem at ease and prevent the circumstances before getting poorer. Manager should also be trained about depression and anxiety so as to be aware about the behavioural changes in the depressed and anxious employees and provide them assistance when need. To decease the situations of depression and anxiety among the employees, quite a lot of researchers have shown that organisations that implement training approaches to the managers tend to avoid practicing the following; Setting unrealistic short task deadlines
Giving multifaceted job tasks to the employees without decision making authority Giving repetitive and tedious jobs only to the employee who is capable to doing thing much more than it Deprived management practices where managers are not supportive to the employees and takes unfair decisions. Not giving recognition and not congratulating for good tasks achieved by the employees
Organisation should focus on employee engagement; implement programmes like Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), Stress Management Programme.
Role of Employers as supporters:
Different people are affected by depression and anxiety in different ways. Some people who experience anxiety or depression would manage to handle the situation and would continue with their work. But some people would definitely need a break. In such situations, there should be someone in the organisation to support the employee to return back to the workplace and this is possible only by the employers. Employers are required to realise the basis of such type of psychological problems, prevention of such emotional problems, and the array and efficiency of different treatments related to such problems.
Employees can improve their performance of the work with the correct extent of anxiety. But if employee’s level of anxiety goes beyond the right extent, then there are possibilities of interference of anxiety with the employees’ performance of the work and their efficiency level. Employers are required to be familiar with various levels of anxiety or depression to facilitate the employees’ with an atmosphere that brings out their most excellent performances. How to identify anxiety or depression in the workplace?
Employers should be conscious of the symptoms of depression and anxiety in the workplace. They should also try to identify the changes in the behavioral aspects of their employees. Some of the symptoms are as follows ; Irreconcilable or decreased productivity,
Absenteeism, unpunctuality, or often nonappearance in the job site, Increased mistakes, decreased work excellence,
Postponement, failure to reach targets,
Extraction from collaboration, teamwork, or unnecessary arguments with colleagues, Over perceptive, over-responsive feelings,
Becoming too besieged to work,
Showing less interest in the work,
Decreased work performance or deliberation procedures,
Problems in focusing or recalling work responsibilities,
Exhaustion and diminished energy level,
Lessened attention, and
Impaired educational and professional achievement
How employers should deal with depressed or anxious employees? Employers should follow the below steps to deal with depressed or anxious employees. They should try to get some knowledge in regards to anxiety and depression, so as to obtain some ideas on what type of emotional problems the employees are undergoing and in what way they can support them. If the employees hesitate to respond to the questions, the employers should lend a hand to them to bring out their fears by showing care and supporting them. This would help to decrease their level of anxiety.
Once the feasible ideas are identified, they should have informal meetings with their employees; listen to their problems and determine how to help them and offer support and encourage to them completely. Employees’ feels that their experiences are sensible. If they feel that they are depressed due to particular work related problems, then the employers should try to listen to their views in a laissez-faire manner and take action aptly. If any employee is acts in a different way, then the employer as well as co-workers should keep in mind that this is an outcome of his/her ill health and understand that it is not their fault. While taking these steps, it is the responsibility of the employers to maintain confidentiality about the health issues of depressed employee from other employees.
Employers should inform other staffs in case of any changes in the work allocations without letting down the privacy of depressed employee. This would reduce the possibility of tittle-tattle among the other employees. Employers should be in contact with the employees when they are absent to the work and they can also provide a chance to them to present their views on tasks that are likely to happen in the office, in spite of their absence.
They should provide them assistance personally and practically. For example, take them out with other staffs after office hours, encouraging them in their work, advising them eat well, inviting them to have lunch together. Employers should try to make their employees to feel more comfortable in the workplace by inviting them as well in the meetings, work related societal events to support them for speedy recovery from depression and anxiety.
All the above steps would help the employee to get rid of their depression and anxiety and concentrate on their work. This will also help the employee to increase their motivation level and self esteem. Moreover, these steps will also help the managers and the organisation to be successful by increase in productivity and company profits. Conclusion:
Various finding proves that depression and anxiety has negative impacts on individual, as well as organizations. This impact continues to be raising concern in the economy. Most of the people who are suffering from depression are working without taking any breaks with the anxiety of being terminated. Some try to control their depression by the awareness. Either directly or indirectly, depression has been the reason for many death by high blood pressure, heart attacks etc. Most of the workers are suffering physically and emotionally in the workplace due to harmful workplace atmosphere.
From this literature review it is proved that these situations can be managed by individuals or by the management or by the organisation to reduce the psychological illness of the employees. Changes should be done from the hierarchy level and hence it is essential for the managers to identify that they have moral responsibility and authority to protect the physical and mental health of their employees . If the organisations follow the strategies and approaches mentioned in this literature review that and prevent employee from the emotional problems, facilitate required treatment, then the company can increase the net gains in productivity. References
1. Canadian Mental Health Association. (2009). Coping with too much stress. Retrieved 2012, from http://cmhanl.ca/education/publications/cwtms/index.php. 2. Angela, S. (2010). Anxiety and Stress: How Poor Performance and Absenteeism Affect the Workplace. Florida, USA: Dissertation.com. 3. Akiskal, H. S. (2000). Mood disorders: clinical features. In B. J. Sadock, & V. A. Sadock, Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry (7 ed., Vol. 1, pp. 1338–1377). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 4. Barlow, D. H., & Durand, M. V. (2005).
Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach. 5. Bender, A. (2009). Depression in the workplace: Recognition and response. Benefits Canada 33 , 41. 6. Bender, K., & Furman, R. (2003). The Social Problem of Depression: A Multi-theoretical Analysis. 30 Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare , 123 . 7. Blair, D. A. (1999). Employees Suffering from Bipolar Disorder or Clinical Depression: Fighting an Uphill Battle for Protection Under Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 12 Seton Hall Law Review , 1347. 8. Clark, J. (2002). Stress: A management guide. London: Spiro Press. 9. Cox, A. A., Ness, K. M., & Carlson, R. F. (2010). International perspectives on depression in the workplace. Retrieved 2012, from http://counselingoutfitters.com/vistas/vistas10/Article_04.pdf. 10. Cox, A. N. (2008). Depression in the workplace.
Retrieved from VISTAS 2008 Online: http://counselingoutfitters.com/vistas/vistas08/Cox.htm 11. Davison, G. C. (2008). Abnormal Psychology. Toronto: Veronica Visentin. 12. Eyers, K., & Parker, G. (2011). Tackling Depression At Work: A Practical Guide for Employees and Managers. New York: Routledge. 13. Frew, J. (2004). Motivating and leading dysfunctional employees. In J. C. Thomas, & M. Hersen (Eds.), Psychopathology in the workplace: Recognition and adaptation (pp. 293-311). New York: Brunner-Routledge. 14. Greenberg, P. E., Kessler, R. C., Birnbaum, H. G., Leong, S. A., Lowe, S. W., Berglund, P. A., et al. (2003). The economic burden of depression in the United States: How did it change between 1990 and 2000? Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 64 , 1465-1475. 15. Healey, J. (2006). Anxiety and depression. Thirroul, N.S.W.: Spinney Press. 16. Hayes, J. (2011). Dealing with Anxiety and Depression in the Workplace. Retrieved 2012, from http://www.ibectraining.ie/IBEC/Training/IBECTAD.nsf/vPages/Information_Centr