For employees with a disabling illness or injury, fear often can be a speed bump on the way to a full recovery. However, for employers, an employee’s actions resulting from fear often can look like apathy, indifference — or worse — laziness.
At any given time in the United States, an estimated 1 in 10 adults report symptoms that would qualify for a diagnosis of depression. Although most of us are familiar with the most noticeable impacts of depression, a number of hidden impacts still can affect a workplace as a whole for weeks, months or even years, without becoming obvious.
Feeling stressed-out at work is something almost everyone has experienced at one time or another. However, if left unaddressed, it can have a profound effect on the productivity of an organization and the mental well-being of its employees.
In the current economy, every penny counts. Workplace productivity is now more essential than ever, especially because many companies have downsized workforces. As a result, employees are stretched thin and are being asked to do more with less.
Imagine for a moment that you’re in pain — a lot of pain. No matter how you sit or position yourself, you seem to still be hurting. You spent months on bed rest and now use a wheelchair to get around, but even though it’s progress, the progress is slow. It’s not just the physical pain that’s an issue — your disability has caused you to be emotionally drained, as well.
A common misconception about a workplace accommodation is that it involves providing an employee with a new chair or an ergonomic keyboard. This simply is not the case, as many return-to-work or stay-at-work efforts involve a mental health need. In fact, I recently assisted a 34-year-old employee return to work after a short-term disability leave prompted by depression and anxiety.