Fatigue in the workplace is a significant problem that companies are trying to address. One of the most common causes of fatigue in the workplace is an extended work schedule which does not allow for sufficient rest between shifts. Fighting fatigue in the workplace can be tricky, but there are things you can do to stay energized throughout your workday. Some of these strategies include reducing stress by practicing ways to control your cortisol levels, taking regular breaks throughout your day, and maintaining a healthy diet with plenty of sleep time before bed. It is also essential to discuss whether or not you are given enough time off or if they require employees to work overtime with your boss.
Exhaustion at the workplace or when driving can be harmful to employees and your company’s bottom line. The results of fatigue are far-reaching and can have a damaging impact on all areas of our lives. Work often requires us to ignore our natural sleep patterns. Greater than 43% of employees are sleep-deprived, and those most in jeopardy work the night shift, long changes, or irregular shifts. Fatigued employees cost employers $1,200 to $3,100 per staff member annually. Workers on rotating shifts are especially prone to fatigue because they can not adjust their “body clocks” to a different sleep pattern.
The Effects of Fatigue on Performance
Fatigue and tiredness can affect a person’s performance and ability to execute tasks. People may not concentrate well, or they might make mistakes that they would not usually make when they are well-rested.
There are many different types of fatigue. Psychophysiological fatigue is the mental and physical exhaustion that comes from sustained work on demanding tasks. The body stops producing enough energy to meet the demands of the brain and other organs, resulting in mental confusion, irritability, decreased coordination, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain, and headache. Behavioral fatigue is when people get tired because their body needs rest and activity has continued for too long (e.g., working for ten hours straight).
How to Prevent & Cope With Work-Related Fatigue
Work-related fatigue is a phenomenon that employees experience when working at their job for a large number of hours in a row. Overworking your body can lead to many health problems, which is why it’s essential to take breaks and understand what causes work-related fatigue.
The leading causes of work-related fatigue are:
Sitting too long without moving around
- Lack of sleep
- Poor eating habits
- No time for exercise
- Disrupted circadian rhythm
Management can reduce employee fatigue by doing the following:
- Installing better lighting.
- Maintaining comfortable temperatures.
- Keeping noise to reasonable levels.
Another approach to reducing fatigue is through scheduling and other administrative practices.
- Instead of extending a work shift and adding more hours to the workday, employees can be scheduled to work more days at regular hours.
- This allows adequate time between shifts for people to “rest and recover.”
Employers can also avoid having employees put in extended hours of heavy physical or mental exertion by spreading the work over more days or reassigning people to help out temporarily.
- Shifts can also be designed to allow employees to vary the tasks that they perform, reducing fatigue that occurs when their work is boring or repetitive in nature.
- Scheduling frequent “micro-breaks” is another technique that can combat fatigue. It enables workers to “refresh” themselves by:
- Changing positions.
- Changing their focus for a little while
Employees and workers can reduce fatigue by practicing good “sleep hygiene.”
- That begins with following a regular routine before bedtime, quieting down your mind and body, and preparing yourself to sleep.
- It can include taking a relaxing bath or shower, reading, or listening to some soothing music for a while.
- Drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages can interfere with your sleeping, so it’s best to avoid them before bed. Concerning caffeine, the best advice is to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks at least 7 hours before bed.
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