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Effective Strategies to Manage Employee Fatigue

The foundU Team
May 14, 2024
9 Min Read

According to a study published by Monash University, employee fatigue causes an estimated 10,000 serious workplace injuries per year in Australia. It costs over $36 billion annually due to healthcare costs and loss of productivity. 

Researchers have also found that being awake for 17 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% - the legal limit for drunk driving violations.

Some common symptoms of fatigue include continuous yawning, drowsiness, irritability, reduced alertness or a rise in a worker's error rate, lack of motivation and increased lethargy. Fatigue also poses serious health risks and is linked to serious health conditions such as heart disease, sleep disorders, depression, and breast and prostate cancers, among others.

Knowing the signs of employee fatigue and implementing strategies for fatigue management in the workplace with the foundU app can help employers to better care for their employees.

 

What is Employee Fatigue?

Fatigue is an invisible workplace hazard that leads to exhaustion and inhibits an individual’s cognitive functioning. It can also manifest as mental exhaustion which can be just as stressful as, or even more stressful than, being physically exhausted.

Fatigue is a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy that reduces a person's mental and physical performance at work. In the workplace, long working hours, insufficient sleep, and insomnia may all lead to employee fatigue. 

Unlike burnout, which is a long-term condition developed from chronic and unmanaged stress, fatigue is caused by temporary physical or mental strain.

 

Signs of Employee Fatigue in the Workplace

Depending on your industry, the signs of employee fatigue in the workplace may look slightly different. For example, an office worker and a labourer will have differing levels of mental and physical stress due to the unique demands of their job.

However, some common telltale signs to look out for include:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Tardiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in mood
  • Noticeable tiredness and other physical symptoms

 

Decreased Productivity

Employees suffering from fatigue may find that their productivity has decreased. This could be completing tasks more slowly, making more errors, having difficulty finishing their workload, or an overall lower output.

Frequent Absences

Unexplained absences or needing to use more sick leave than usual can be a sign of fatigue impacting an employee’s health and well-being.

Cognitive Impairment

Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions becomes more evident when employees are fatigued.

Mood Changes

Increased irritability, frustration, anxiety, depression, or apathy can be signs that fatigue is affecting an employee's emotional state. 

Physical Symptoms

Fatigue can manifest physically through headaches, muscle aches, visible tiredness, yawning, heavy eyelids, or changes in sleep patterns (either excessive sleepiness or difficulty sleeping).

 

Employee Fatigue Management Strategies

Managing fatigue, which can be either acute or ongoing, can be overcome by implementing effective workplace management strategies. Fatigue management strategies such as adjusting workloads, flexible scheduling, taking a break every hour, education on the importance of sleep, managing overtime, nutrition and hydration can be simple solutions.

However, more complex problems require equally complex solutions, and it is important to provide a clear fatigue management strategy to help your employees combat fatigue. 

 

Adjust Workloads

Delegate tasks effectively and give employees a realistic and manageable workload to help reduce workplace fatigue and prevent burnout.

Flexible Scheduling

Offering remote work, flexible start/end times or compressed workweek options can help manage employee energy levels and work schedules. foundU’s leave management software prioritises employee well-being and accommodates personal rest needs. 

Encourage Regular Breaks

Promoting short, frequent breaks throughout the day can help employees improve focus and reduce fatigue-related errors by regularly refreshing their minds and bodies.

foundU’s time attendance software accurately tracks and records employee time and attendance with simple clocking in and out with an employee app linked to payroll.

Promote Sleep Health

Educate employees about the importance of sleep and healthy sleep habits like encouraging breaks from screens before bed can combat fatigue. Providing resources or programs can also help improve overall sleep quality.

Monitor Work Hours

Using tools to track and manage employee work hours helps prevent excessive overtime, and overworking, giving employees time to rest and recharge outside of work.

 

How Technology Can Help Tackle Employee Fatigue

As an employee, you can optimise workplace fatigue management and combat fatigue with technology. Promote personal well-being using new solutions such as smartphones, tablets, and wearables.

Apps that track sleep patterns can be installed on smartphones or tablets and offer suggestions and adjustments to improve sleep quality. Productivity management software analyses work patterns and identifies overworking and intense activity during working hours. Employees can use the data from this software on their own to prevent fatigue before it sets in.

Wearable devices track health metrics, such as heart rates, sleep patterns, and day-to-day activity levels. These valuable insights can detect potential fatigue triggers, again preventing the problem before it happens. Sleep-monitoring apps can also be installed on smartwatches or fitness trackers and offer recommendations based on the accurate data they record.

While technology won't replace healthy work practices, it can be a powerful tool for both employees and employers. By offering insights towards healthier workplace habits, technology solutions can contribute to creating a sustainable and productive work environment that mitigates fatigue risks and prevents burnout.

 

Reducing Employee Fatigue with foundU

foundU provides Australian businesses with an all-in-one platform for effectively managing fatigue in the workplace. With foundU, employers can easily facilitate onboarding, scheduling, and payroll in addition to leave management and a convenient self-service mobile app that employees can use to record their attendance, view their payslips, upload personal details, and more.

foundU has built-in data analytics that can identify patterns of overworking and fatigue, as well as a suite of tools for creating more realistic and balanced schedules to help prevent burnout and promote healthy workplace habits.

 

Conclusion

Managing fatigue in the workplace should be a concern for all employers. Employee fatigue costs everyone in the end and a healthy work environment is crucial for the success of your business. 

foundU supports businesses by using technological solutions to manage and mitigate employee fatigue risks. 

Enhance workplace productivity and employee health by managing fatigue. Book a Demo and learn how foundU can help your business.

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