How to Manage Fatigue in the Workplace
March 11, 2022
In today's fast-paced and high-stress work environment, it's not uncommon for employees to feel fatigued. For many people, fatigue is a minor annoyance that can be easily remedied with a good night's sleep. However, fatigue can be a significant obstacle to success for some people. It can lead to decreased productivity, poor decision-making, and even accidents. But it doesn't have to be this way. By learning how to manage fatigue, you can keep yourself productive and safe. Read on for a comprehensive breakdown of ways to manage workplace fatigue.
How can Employees Manage Workplace Fatigue?
There are things that employees can do to manage workplace fatigue, including:
Identify the Causes of Your Fatigue
In order to reduce the amount of fatigue you're experiencing throughout the day, it's essential to identify factors that may be impacting how you feel. Try keeping a journal for a few days where you document everything from how much sleep you got last night to whether or not life has been particularly stressful lately. Identifying contributing factors can help you and your doctor develops a plan that works to reduce fatigue.
Manage Sleep Schedule
There are a few key things to keep in mind in order to get a good night's sleep and avoid workplace fatigue:
First, make sure you get enough sleep every night - most people need around 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed; caffeine can keep you awake for hours after drinking it, and alcohol can disrupt your REM cycle, resulting in poor-quality sleep.
Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible - going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will help regulate your body's natural sleep rhythm.
Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Create an environment that is conducive to sleep.
Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed. The light from screens can interfere with melatonin production, the hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine that will help you wind down before bed. Taking a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music can help.
Practice some relaxation techniques before bedtimes, such as deep breathing or visualization exercises
Eat Healthy Foods and Stay Hydrated
Eat healthy foods that give you sustained energy throughout the day, such as lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Choose foods that are filling and provide energy, like fruits and vegetables, whole-grain toast, low-fat yogurt, or nuts and seeds. This will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent energy slumps. Be sure to avoid sugary drinks and processed snacks, which will send your blood sugar levels soaring then crashing a few hours later.
It is also essential to stay hydrated; therefore, drink lots of water. This also helps the body stay cool and refreshed.
There's no question that regular exercise is one of the best ways to combat workplace fatigue. Exercise releases endorphins, which help to improve mood and energy levels. It also helps increase blood circulation, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the brain and other parts of the body. Finally, exercise helps release tension and stress, both of which can contribute to fatigue.
All of this said it's important not to overdo it. Too much exercise can have the opposite effect, causing fatigue and lethargy. The key is finding a balance between enough exercise to feel energized and refreshed, but not so much that you end up feeling exhausted. Start slow and gradually work your way up.
Take Regular Recovery Breaks
Taking breaks is a crucial way to avoid workplace fatigue, but it's also important to ensure that your breaks are meaningful and productive. Here are a few tips for taking effective breaks:
Make sure you take a break every hour or so. If you wait too long, you'll start to feel exhausted.
Take a break outside of your work area. This will help you refresh your mind and come back recharged.
Use your break to do something fun or relaxing. This will help you recharge and stay focused when you return to work.
Some popular types of breaks include: walking around the block, sitting in nature, reading or writing something for fun, spending time with co-workers, listening to music, meditating or practicing mindfulness, doing some light stretching or yoga poses, and eating healthy snacks.
Stress management is crucial for avoiding workplace fatigue. When we're stressed, our bodies release cortisol, which is a hormone that can cause us to feel tired and overwhelmed. It's important to take time for yourself every day to relax and de-stress, whether that means taking a yoga class, reading a book, or taking a walk outdoors. You might also want to consider using stress-relieving essential oils such as lavender, jasmine, ylang-ylang, bergamot, rose, or frankincense in an aromatherapy diffuser. In addition, slot in consultation with your therapist every 2 or 3 months for continued assessment of your mental health. But, whatever you do, make sure to carve out some time each day just for you so that you can recharge and rejuvenate.
Additional Steps for Fatigue Management
There are a few additional things employees can do to reduce the risk of workplace fatigue, including:
Implement a buddy system: Working with a partner can help reduce fatigue by providing short breaks and opportunities for discussion.
Report any fatigue-related events: When employees feel tired or experience an accident or near-miss at work, they should report it as soon as possible. This helps employers track the symptoms and prevalence of fatigue in the workplace.
Create a wellness plan (actively seek out counseling or check on mental wellness)
Ask for a personal day off (within the terms of your contract) when things start looking rough.
Get organized with your work. Most risk factors for fatigue arise from rushing to beat deadlines. Once a task is assigned, ensure to allocate enough time to allow for an easier (less stressful) execution.
How Employers Can Help Employees Manage Fatigue
When it comes to workplace fatigue, employers need to take the lead in managing its effects. Although employees are at risk for experiencing fatigue in several ways, there are some general guidelines that employers can follow to help create a more productive and healthy work environment.
Some ways that employers can make the office more conducive to help reduce workplace fatigue include:
Switch to Ergonomic Furniture
Provide ergonomic furniture that is adjustable and helps to promote good posture. Some suggestions include:
Ergonomic Chairs - Having ergonomic chairs in the office can help to reduce fatigue by providing good and comfortable sitting support to employees. This will allow them to sit in the correct posture for longer periods of time without having to adjust and will help to reduce muscle fatigue and tension.
Standing Desks - Standing desks can also help reduce fatigue by encouraging employees to get physically active during the day. By standing up, employees can stretch their muscles and get their blood flowing a little bit more, which can help decrease feelings of fatigue.
Under Desk Bikes - Under desk bikes are a great way for employees to get some added movement and exercise during the day without leaving their desks.
Regulate Office Temperatures
The ideal temperature for an office environment, as per OSHA guidelines, is 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit. If the office is too warm or too cold, employees will become lethargic and uncomfortable. Therefore, the employer must equip the office with a quality air conditioning system and a proper ventilation system to ensure a comfortable working situation.
Particularly noisy areas of the office can be disruptive and cause fatigue. Employers can try to reduce noise levels through various means such as:
Make sure that noisy areas of the office are partitioned off.
Provide employees with ear protection gear if needed.
Ensuring that all office equipment is in good working condition and isn't too loud.
Stress Management Tools
Below is a breakdown of things that employees can undertake in managing stress:
Stress-reduction classes: Offering stress-reduction classes can help employees learn how to manage their stress levels and teach employees how to better deal with stressful situations.
Counseling: Providing counseling for employees can help them deal with any personal or professional issues causing them stress.
Nap rooms: Offering a place for employees to nap can help them recharge their batteries and reduce the amount of fatigue they feel.
Break room: A break room with comfortable seating, snacks, and drinks can give employees a place to relax and rejuvenate during their breaks
Shift management is essential for any business that operates 24/7. A poorly planned or executed shift can lead to lower productivity, customer dissatisfaction, and even safety hazards. In addition, the employer can also manage shift changes so that workers are not working more than 12 hours at a time.
Here are some tips for effective shift management:
The plan shifts well in advance and makes sure all employees are notified of their schedule as soon as possible.
Establish clear expectations for each shift and make sure all employees are familiar with them.
Communicate with employees throughout the shift and address any problems or issues as they arise.
Keep track of employee hours and overtime, and make sure employees are taking appropriate breaks.
Implement policies that limit work hours and overtime whenever possible.
Educate/train supervisors on the signs and symptoms of fatigue and how to intervene.
Rotate staff members through different shifts whenever possible in order to give everyone a chance to experience different hours.
Additional Tips for Employers in Fatigue Management
Providing adequate lighting. Many people feel fatigued when working in a dark environment.
Ensuring that the office is adequately ventilated. A stuffy, humid office can lead to feelings of fatigue.
Employers can help reduce workplace fatigue by ensuring that employees have a healthy work/life balance, ample break time, and opportunities for physical activity.
Organize team-building activities outside of the office so employees can get some fresh air and exercise.
Promoting a healthy lifestyle among employees by providing wellness programs and subsidizing healthy food options
Develop processes to relieve workers from their duties if they are too fatigued to work safely.
Allow staff enough time to organize their off-duty obligations and get sufficient rest and recovery.
Employers can also help reduce workplace fatigue by creating a positive working environment that is supportive and encouraging. Employees who feel appreciated and valued are less likely to experience fatigue on the job.
Employers can also help reduce workplace fatigue by implementing flexible work policies that allow employees to work from home or take time off when needed.
Identify individuals at risk for experiencing fatigue (e.g., those who work long hours or have multiple jobs) and provide targeted interventions (e.g., counseling, education).
Fatigue can be a significant issue in the workplace. It can lead to decreased productivity, mistakes, and even accidents. There are many things that employers and employees can do to try to combat fatigue in the workplace. Taking breaks, getting enough sleep, and using ergonomic equipment are good ways to fight fatigue. Employers should also consider their work environment and how it may contribute to employee fatigue. Creating a comfortable and well-lit workspace can help reduce fatigue. Employees should also be aware of the signs of fatigue and know when it is time to take a break. With some effort on everyone's part, fatigue can be reduced or eliminated altogether. We hope one of these suggestions can help create a healthier workspace for you and your colleagues.
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