Depression comes at the top of the list when it comes to loss of workplace productivity. The accelerated pace of work and advances in technology can feed anxiety and stress, but depression is different. It has a specific definition and a clinical diagnosis.
If you have been feeling sad and depressed for longer than two weeks, you may have depression. Depression can severely impact your ability to concentrate and be productive at work.
- Low energy levels
Depression is usually accompanied by low energy levels. This may be interpreted by coworkers or a boss as a poor work ethic or a bad attitude. You will often feel tired from early on in the day, even when you have hardly completed any work.
The result can be a backlog of work, an inability to meet deadlines and a lack of enthusiasm for completing tasks. When you’re depressed, you tend to lose interest in the work you used to enjoy.
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- Scrambled cognitive functions
Depression can scramble your cognitive functions and leave you feeling disconnected, dazed, unfocused and unable to concentrate. Ask yourself the following questions to see if your depression is affecting your work.
- Are you battling to focus and concentrate on your daily tasks?
- Are you having difficulty meeting deadlines?
- Do you feel as though your job does not matter to you anymore?
- Are you battling to remember details and make decisions?
- Strained working relationships
When you are depressed, you are likely to be more irritable and to lash out at coworkers in anger. You may also feel disconnected from your coworkers and tend to withdraw. In both cases, failing to work together with others affects productivity in the workplace and makes you feel more isolated and alone. When you’re feeling hopeless and helpless, you tend to drive others away.
Let coworkers know about your condition if you feel comfortable and supported. It will help them to understand and they may be able to form a more supportive environment to help you.
- Inferior work quality
When you are depressed, you may feel as though your workload is beyond you. This contributes to your feelings of helplessness. You may go through the work without paying attention to quality just to get it done. As you battle to concentrate, you may have difficulty doing work that you previously found easy. You know you’re taking longer and so you rush and make mistakes.
Setting small manageable goals can help break down your tasks into smaller ones that do not feel as daunting. You also need to learn to establish boundaries so that you avoid taking on too much.
- Inability to take responsibility
The challenges in your mind if you are depressed are much greater than those in the work environment. The battle can be so all-consuming that you even forget about your hygiene, what you wear or what you eat.
This means that people can’t rely on you in the workplace. They won’t be able to trust you to finish work by a certain deadline or to make sure that an all-important report is circulated to the right people.
It is not impossible to have a full-time job if you suffer from depression. Effective therapy, specific lifestyle habits, and medical care can all help you to recover to the point where your productivity returns.