There has been a great deal of research into depression in general in recent years, and lately, much of the focus has been on how depression negatively affects employee productivity. The statistics vary depending on which study you read, but nearly all state that depression can significantly reduce employee productivity. Approximately 8% of Canadian adults will experience major depression at some point in their lives, and over half say that winter weather negatively affects their mood. If you extrapolate this across your full range of employees, you can see why a great deal of productivity may be lost. To learn more about this problem and how to treat it, read on.
What are the « winter blues »
The term « winter blues » refers to seasonal depression that often strikes employees during winter. There are several different reasons why people in general, including your employees, are more susceptible to depression during the colder months. For one, there’s the holidays, which can be a stressful time. The holidays can also make people without a close family or many friends feel alone when they see everybody else celebrating with their loved ones. Lack of sunlight during winter months is also a factor – it has been proven to significantly increase depression. Of course, employees may be fighting depression at any time of the year, but it is more common during the winter.
Many employees come down with a bad case
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians 15 to 24 years old have a higher depression rate than any other age group.
Experts are divided on why this is the case. Some feel that because of the instability of hormones in young people, even those well past puberty, they are more susceptible to depression. Others feel that older people are just as likely or nearly as likely to have depression, but are much less likely to report it due to social conditioning. Mental health and depression are still taboo topics to some extent, but not as nearly as they used to be for past generations.
How an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help
It has been determined that women are far more willing to talk about their depression, comparative to men. It is important to keep this in mind when trying to provide for your employee’s mental health. In general, your employee’s confidentiality should be of the utmost importance, and they should be gently encouraged rather than pressured to come forward with their issues. This may mean you have to take a more hands-off approach, but keep in mind it is important that you do this for the greater good of your employees. That’s where offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help.
How to get started with an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) aimed specifically at seasonal depression can reduce or even eliminate the loss of productivity due to the winter blues. It can also help your employees feel better about the company they work for. If they see that such a program is offered, they’ll feel cared for by the company. It will also help improve morale and employee relationships. Employee morale is often underrated as a factor in productivity, but experts agree that it is essential. Benecaid offers Shepell’s industry-leading Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) which can be easily added to your existing benefits plan.
To learn more about how you can easily add an EAP to your group health benefits plan contact your Advisor or reach out to one of our Benefits Consultants today.