The workplace has in the recent past changed significantly especially as companies try to adopt an era of remote and hybrid working.
With this, companies are now perfectly positioned to tackle the fundamental barriers to employee satisfaction and productivity that are taking up today’s office.
One main problem in today’s workplace is employee fatigue especially, now as the year comes to an end.
Conventional workplaces often see employees tethered to their desks for eight hours a day or more.
They are under constant pressure to be engaged in their work, and when they can’t, they learn to get into the habit of looking busy. And that in itself can be exhausting.
Progressively-minded companies are tirelessly looking for new working methodologies to insulate their employees from fatigue.
In doing so, they can protect themselves from fatigue and eventual burnout, while still empowering themselves to perform to the best of their ability and thrive in their careers.
To understand workplace fatigue, let’s talk about how we would define fatigue in the first place.
Worker fatigue can be defined as a feeling of sleepiness, tiredness, or lack of energy while at work. Fatigue is a health and safety issue as well as an employee well-being issue.
Research shows fatigue can be attributed to workplace injuries. In fact, 13% of workplace injuries are a result of workplace fatigue.
Fatigue doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all box. Sometimes, mental exhaustion is just as taxing as physical exhaustion.
Fatigue can be a lack of sleep or sleep deprivation and long work hours. But it can also look like an increase in burnout or absenteeism.
Fatigue management is the act of addressing fatigue through methods, tactics, or programs. It’s the approach a person or organization takes to mitigate the negative effects of fatigue.
According to research by MetLife, employees could be costing companies as much as £700m a year in lost productivity with over 80 million hours of lost employee time due to sickness.
The same research revealed that 44% of employees admit to calling in sick due to feeling exhausted, stressed, depressed, overwhelmed and unmotivated.
Here are some ways in which employers and employees alike can work together to reduce fatigue and ensure a healthy, happy workforce.
Hybrid workers tend to be at their most creative and energized when they have greater control over their working hours.
And their preferred hours may deviate from the traditional 9 to 5. This may be part of the reason why studies demonstrate that hybrid working increases average productivity by 3-5%.
Being able to plan their working hours around the school run, gym sessions, or just some much-needed rest and relaxation can boost the quality and quantity of work produced.
With true autonomy over their working hours, employees can achieve a much healthier work-life balance than they ever could shackled to their desks.
We all know how frustrating it can be to spend our time staring at a blank screen.
This productivity paralysis is the symptom of an overworked and exhausted mind. Tethering ourselves to that screen is a cul de sac that leads only to exhaustion, frustration and self-doubt.
Employees should plan regular breaks to take a walk, read a chapter of a book, or enjoy a refreshing drink while they give their brains a rest.
Furthermore, employers should actively encourage this.
Working in one place can be stifling to the mind. Especially when employees confine themselves to a single room for the majority of their working days.
When fatigue settles in, and creative block strikes, employees should spend a little time outdoors. Switching to a hybrid working model can be a huge boon to employees in this regard.
Working in shared workspaces that are closer to home, employees spend less time commuting, leaving them with more opportunities to take a walk, go for a jog, or even take a trip to their local gym.
A number of studies have actually shown that spending time in nature could help to aid concentration, memory and focus.
In their zeal to create a sense of cohesion between remote team members, leaders and managers can fall into counterproductive habits when it comes to online meetings.
As well as scheduling too many of them, they can fail to account for the growing phenomenon of ‘Zoom fatigue’.
Being on camera can be quite a drain on our energy, combining an approximation of face-to-face interactions with effectively looking into a mirror at the same time. Furthermore, gallery modes can be very distracting.
Try to reduce the frequency and volume of online meetings and consider making audio-only the default.
Dehydration plays a huge role in your energy level and physical performance. Studies show that dehydration leads to decreased alertness and concentration.
Health authorities typically recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water on a daily basis, which is the equivalent of 2 liters. Even if you aren’t drinking that much water every day, make it a point to drink water when you are feeling tired and take note of any changes in your energy levels.
You can also try and take in a few cups of coffee. Today, flexible workspaces like coworking spaces, offer bottomless tea and coffee to their members.
We all know what a comfort that first coffee of the morning can be. However even as we take coffee to recharge and stay work throughout the day be careful as research also shows that coffee can actually hasten fatigue rather than dispelling it.
Caffeine works by binding to and blocking receptors of the neurotransmitter adenosine. The compound responsible for making us feel tired as the day progresses.
The brain keeps on producing adenosine as the day progresses and the caffeine starts to wear off, resulting in the cumulative effect of feeling more tired than you would if you had foregone the caffeine.
This is why it’s so important to drink coffee in moderation and avoid the urge to drink it throughout the day.