For those of you who have a long commute I am sure you will appreciate the time eaten up getting to work. Sitting in traffic for hours is standard practice in many large cities and can be very exhausting.
But it’s not only travel time that can cause fatigue, there may be other reasons occurring on the home front – new baby, caring for the elderly, gaming addiction, anxiety or depression, family issues – all of which may take their toll in your workplace.
Here are some of the impacts this may have on your business:
- Tired workers are a safety hazard -they are more likely to have accidents in the workplace
- Attention span will likely be shorter – less focus on actual work or listening to clients
- Brain power will decline – no new ideas and lower productivity
- Make more mistakes – write down the wrong order number or hear instructions incorrectly
- More likely to get sick – higher levels of absenteeism
- Become temporarily introverted – too tired to be bothered with the team
It’s really important to recognise the early signs of fatigue – here is how you can tell if someone is constantly tired:
- excessive yawning or falling asleep at work
- short term memory problems and an inability to concentrate
- noticeably reduced capacity to engage in effective interpersonal communication
- impaired decision-making and judgement
- reduced hand-eye coordination or slow reflexes
- other changes in behaviour, for example repeatedly arriving late for work
- difficulty concentrating
- blurred vision or impaired visual perception
People who are fatigued are not good at recognising their own level of impairment, and can be unaware that they are not functioning at their best. In the worst case scenario they can drop off to sleep in the middle of a task, which can have fatal consequences.
So what can you do as a business to ensure your workers are at their best?
- Treat fatigue as a Health and Safety Hazard and give it the attention it needs
- Look at work schedules – shift work, night work, hours of work, breaks
- Ensure Job demands are reasonable
- If you have concerns ask how many hours sleep are you getting – over 8 hours per night is best
- Check out environmental conditions – is the office hot, cold, noisy etc
And just to finish up here are some helpful tips you could work through with tired employees
- vary work tasks so you stay alert
- take regular breaks
- tell your supervisor or manager if you’re feeling fatigued.
Outside of work you can reduce your risk of fatigue by:
- making sleep a priority; avoid cutting back on sleep in order to fit everything else in
- improving the quality and quantity of your sleep; have a regular bed time routine, make sure your bedroom is dark, cool and comfortable; get treatment for sleep disorders
- choose what you eat and drink carefully: eat light nutritious meals (heavy meals make you drowsy); drink plenty of water; minimise your caffeine and alcohol intake
- learn the warning signs of fatigue and to recognise them in yourself, so that you can take a break or have a powernap.
ACC has a very helpful page you can refer to in case you need more information on fatigue in the workplace.
But if you have any other ideas on how to combat fatigue in the workplace we would love to hear them – drop us a line below.