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Workplace Depression Caused Not By Workload, But By Bosses

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If you’re depressed at work, don’t look to the pile of work on your desk. Research shows that your supervisor is the most likely cause of workplace depression.

That’s the news from an article in ScienceNordic, which covers the topic:

Surprisingly, the study indicates that a heavy workload has no effect on whether or not employees become depressed. Instead, it is the work environment and the feeling of being treated unfairly by the management that has the greatest effect on an employee’s mood.

“We may have a tendency to associate depression and stress with work pressure and workload; however, our study shows that the workload actually has no effect on workplace depression,” says one of the researchers behind the new study, psychologist Matias Brødsgaard Grynderup, PhD, of the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University.

“This suggests that the risk of workplace depression cannot be minimised by changing the workload.”

This is one of those findings that might seem like a surprise until you think about it for a few minutes. Workload may rise and fall, and it’s not too difficult to leave what is undone at work. But a difficult boss is there all the time.

And we all know that a negative experience with a boss can stay with us well after work is over.

Workplace Depression

© Flickr user gingerpig2000

So workplace depression is caused mostly by who we work for, not what we do. Combine that with the reality of the connection between workplace productivity and bosses. That means that probably the most significant indicator of your future at any company is person you report to.

This means if you hate your job, you probably dislike your boss.

And if you want happier, more productive employees, look at your managers. That may mean looking in the mirror.

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
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