Preventing Fatigue in the Work Place
Fatigue in the workplace also known as ‘burnout syndrome’ is when a worker has an overwhelming sense of reduced accomplishment and a lack of any personal identity. It is both a physical and an emotional state of being.
It can be hard for workers to identify this in themselves and if they do it can often be too late. This is why it is important, that as an employer, you can identify the signs ahead of time and intervene so as not to lose a valuable employee but also to ensure that you are taking care of their well-being in the workplace.
Although it is not considered a medical diagnosis, burn-out can, in some cases, be linked to depression as well as be linked to external factors outside of the workplace such as family life and personality traits. Regardless of the cause though burn-out can severely affect an employees physical and mental health. You need to be aware of some of the signs that indicate an employee may be suffering from burn-out.
Some signs could be:
Being more cynical or critical
Easily irritated by co-workers
Impatient with co-workers or customers
Less productive than normal
Taking more sick days
Complaining of physical pains such as head or stomach aches
Of course these may not be clear to you as an employer, especially if you employ a large number of staff. However it is important that you create awareness in your workplace among your managers and their staff. The more people are aware of the signs then the quicker action can be taken.
It is important to also consider what some of the internal causes of burn-out are.
If an employee feels like they lack the ability to influence decisions that affect their job or lack resources to properly carry out their job this could lead to them feeling burn-out. This is also true for employees who have no clear work expectations or are in a situation where they feel like their workplace is dysfunctional because of bullying or micromanaging. Jobs that are monotonous or chaotic can strain an employee's focus muscle and induce fatigue.
Conditions outside of the workplace which may impact on an employee burning out include a lack of social support and a poorly balanced work-life situation.
Burn-out can lead to a whole raft of issues which will then go on to impact an employees life even further inside and outside the workplace. These include:
Large amounts of stress
Alcohol or substance abuse
High blood pressure
Type 2 Diabetes
If you notice burn-out or if an employee approaches you about burn-out consider taking steps to assist them:
Discuss specific concerns with the employee especially if they are around expectations and control in the workplace. What changes can be made that will help to create new goals and expectations for them and you.
Encourage your employee to seek support. This could be through their social and family circles or even work colleagues who they feel close to. If you have implemented an employee assistance program in the workplace you should encourage them to take advantage of this.
Other things that you can do in the workplace is to encourage regular activity, exercise and mindfulness. There are many ways in which you can implement these in the workplace you could also take suggestions from your employees. Keep in mind that not everyone will take part, but making them available is the most important thing.