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New Year’s Resolution: I will get healthier and get a better job!

In January and February health clubs often have their best months. This is largely due to individuals making a new year resolution to be healthier. I often hear from clients at the same time who have also been reflecting on their professional lives, and how this may have influenced other aspects of their lives including their health and personal relationships. What I often hear is “I am depressed about going back to work”.  Although not every person may be clinically depressed, some are genuinely experiencing sadness, stress and anxiety about returning to work and are unlikely to be performing at their best. In my experience Anxiety and Depression at work is the result of a person working in a career or environment that is in conflict with their values.  When clients first meet me they have often unknowingly developed a variety of coping strategies that are moving them further away from their career goals and what is most important to them. What I see is many people going to work and “checking their values at the door” telling themselves the “It’s all good” story.  While this may be an effective short-term approach, I am yet to see it work for people long term.

Financial pressures and, or stigma of unemployment is leading to people staying in job roles far longer than planned. This is when we see increased absenteeism, presenteeism, and a decrease in job performance. While this is not great news for employers, it is helpful for employees if the period of transition is short-term (e.g., no longer than 3 months). However, if this transition is long-term, Depression and Anxiety become a greater risk factor for the employee which is likely to negatively influence their job performance whereby the employer may cease their employment.

How do we avoid this problem?

A recent study conducted by the University of New South Wales’ School of Psychiatry, the Black Dog Institute and the Australian School of Business identified risk and protective factors at an individual, team and organisational level, depicted here six-key-domains-that-employers-need-to-address-to-maximise-the-wellbeing-of-employees-in-the-workplace.

What this research illuminated is these factors interact in complex ways. There is significant evidence that individual coaching combined with group / team work is the most effective in improving performance and employee wellbeing. I would be happy to discuss how this may work for you or your team. At an individual level I understand this, as at 40 I realised I was unhappy and not working towards my values. I wanted to investigate if there was a career for me that was more aligned to what was important to me that also provided an acceptable income. I didn’t understand this concept of “working towards values” at the time. Now six years later I do which has also allowed me to help individuals and leaders increase self-awareness and improve performance by exploring the factors that “get in their way” and how these factors influence leadership style and employee behaviour.  I would like to be involved with a changing future whereby depression at work does not become a new “norm”, instead having more people achieve meaningful and prosperous careers.

If you like actual data read on ….. The Sad Facts:

Since the Global Financial Crisis employer expectations have increased while employee well-being has plummeted;

  • The World Health Organisation, predict Depression will be the second leading cause of disease burden behind heart disease by 2020 (World Health Organisation, 2005, 2015).
  • Sixty percent of the world’s population spend 60% of their waking hours at work which is why employee wellbeing is fast becoming a new “norm”.
  • The pressures related to financial crisis and economic problems equates to employers expecting more and more from their employees.
  • These pressures affect the mental health of the individuals and Australian Psychological Society (2015); Australian Human Rights Commission (2010) estimates that 45% of Australians between 16 and 85 years will seek depression related assistance.
  • Depression, often as a result of stress at work leads to increased absenteeism and sick leave, and is costing Australian organsiations $27.5 billion per year (DHS, 2016).

Lets all work together to change this outcome.

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