When thinking about fatigue, we automatically envision that 3 pm slump feeling. The feeling of drowsiness and wanting to take a nap. But the term fatigue, when used in a work context, encompasses so much more than just that. Fatigue refers to a state of mental or physical exhaustion that hinders a person's ability to perform well in the workplace.
Not only does fatigue limit a team member's ability to achieve positive results, but it also increases their risk of experiencing negative safety outcomes. If a team member is not alert and on top of their game, they will likely make decisions that can put themselves or others in compromising or dangerous positions.
Your organisation’s profitability can also be affected as fatigue can dampen critical thinking skills, leading to decisions that may not benefit the organisation. When someone is fatigued, they also won’t be able to work at their highest capacity, leaving productivity on the table.
When looking to manage fatigue in the workplace, it’s important to understand what causes it. Fatigue is caused by a number of different things and surprisingly to some, they aren’t just physical. A team member's mental health and well-being play a huge role in how energised and engaged they feel at work.
Fatigue can be caused by:
Fatigue management is a combined effort between the employer and the employee. At work, the employer can facilitate efforts to manage fatigue by setting up initiatives and supporting their team members. However, since fatigue can also be caused by factors that occur outside the workplace, the employee must also be willing to continue their fatigue management practices at home. This is not to say that the employer can’t help them get set up and learn the strategies. In fact, learning different coping mechanisms in the workplace can be hugely beneficial.
It may require some vulnerability and effort from both sides, but we assure you that the combined effort towards fatigue management is the pathway to a happy workplace.
One way for an employer to help manage employee fatigue is to ensure that work hours are conducive to a healthy balance between sleep, work and recreation. An 8-hour workday is optimal for ensuring that your employees still have time to rest, recover and do what they love in their spare time. This balance is crucial to avoid burnout and fatigue. But what if you have an 8-hour work day but your employees work extra hours to complete their work? If your employees have a workload that is too large to fit into one 8-hour day, then workflow, resourcing and work volume should be reassessed by leaders.
Breaks should also be encouraged to give employees time to switch off for a moment and recharge their batteries. At the end of the day, if your employees are overworked, your organisation will lose out in the long run.
Learning to meditate allows you to access more of who you are. In an average 9-5 workday, taking just 5 minutes to breathe, reflect and release tension can decrease stress levels and improve overall productivity.
Meditation allows you to experience more creativity, deepens fulfillment, and leads to stronger relationships with friends, family, and colleagues. Being mindful can have a positive impact on not only your work but also on those around you.
Learning to better communicate and express emotions, people who meditate often show more acceptance towards each other, creating a more welcoming and holistic working environment.
Psychological safety is one of the most important aspects of a workplace. When employees feel that they can speak up and be heard, they are more likely to take risks, which can lead to innovation. This is particularly important for teams that are trying to develop new products or services for clients.
When companies foster psychological safety, it means everyone can voice their opinions without fear of being judged or ridiculed. It also means that people are more likely to collaborate with each other and work together towards a common goal, rather than just doing their own thing.
To promote psychological safety in your workplace, you need to create an environment where employees feel comfortable coming forward with their concerns and ideas without fear of being judged or ridiculed. There's no one way to do this—it all depends on how comfortable your employees are feeling in the moment. In some cases, it may mean having an open-door policy where anyone can talk directly with management about any issues they're having at work without having to go through HR first. In others, it might mean setting aside specific times during the day when people can come together as a group and discuss things openly without worrying about who might overhear them talking about sensitive topics.
Workers who experience fatigue often suffer higher rates of burnout, emotional exhaustion, and poor job satisfaction. Taking a leadership approach to embedding culture change to improve burnout, Performance by Design helps our clients manage and mitigate the risk that comes with fatigue.
By developing and implementing evidence-based Fatigue Risk Management (FRMS), policies, procedures, and processes we help mentor leaders and their team members to develop strong safety cultures that encourage a commitment to organisational success and self-management.
For organisations looking to improve safety and general performance at work, it’s essential that leaders within the organisation understand the cause, the signs and the solution to fatigue. If leaders have a thorough understanding, they will be able to influence employees and become a solid support system when employees are struggling.
Combining expertise in leadership development with safety culture and performance, Performance by Design helps leaders across the globe achieve incredible results for their organisations.
Our consultants offer bespoke, flexible solutions that ensure the safety of your team and help you develop the skills needed to become a highly effective safety leader, including:
If you are interested in managing fatigue in your organisation, get in touch with the experts at Performance By Design today.