Continuous employee fatigue is a warning sign! How to prevent it?
We live in a constant rush, continually setting new goals for ourselves and always wanting more. We impose high demands on ourselves, and as a result, we lack the energy to act, and our mental health suffers increasingly. Workplace fatigue is the plague of the 21st century. According to research, up to 80% of employees may experience exhaustion. What causes this? How can it be prevented? And what can an employer do when they notice signs of fatigue in their employees?
“Chronic Employee Fatigue – The Main Cause and How to Prevent It
The biggest challenge for modern employees is stress. Stress is omnipresent – it appears regardless of the profession or position held. Some are affected to a lesser extent, while others are affected more – it all depends on the types of stressors involved. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to stressors leads to emotional and physical overload, commonly referred to as fatigue or exhaustion.
One of the main causes of employee fatigue is often an excessive workload. Interestingly, many individuals impose pressure on themselves to be the best, resulting in overworking. One of the highest values in today’s world is ambition, which compels us to work beyond our limits and give our best. Many people struggle to maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives, prioritizing their careers and corporate duties. Unfortunately, this often leads to chronic fatigue, which can eventually turn into burnout syndrome.
Among the common causes of employee fatigue, challenging working conditions are also mentioned. This includes both workplaces that are not adapted to the employees’ needs and a tense and unpleasant atmosphere in the company. Unfortunately, harsh working conditions negatively affect employees’ well-being, motivation, and can contribute to the development of burnout syndrome.
When should the red flag go up?
Chronic fatigue or overwork initially manifests itself somewhat innocently – we have trouble concentrating, are often irritable, or complain about an excessive workload. However, when the difficult situation persists, we begin to feel worse. The first warning sign is sleep problems. When thoughts about work and professional duties constantly occupy our minds, it’s difficult to relax and unwind. Insomnia sets in, and work-related nightmares torment us. The next day, we are tired again. We struggle to focus on daily tasks, routine actions take longer, and our work efficiency dramatically decreases. This, in turn, leads to poorer professional results and can lower our self-esteem as employees.
An employee experiencing chronic work-related fatigue is irritable, no longer finds satisfaction in tasks that once brought joy, reluctantly engages in company life, and loses interest in the industry. In extreme cases, they may experience anxiety about going to work. Unfortunately, prolonged fatigue can lead to burnout syndrome.
Employee fatigue – the first step towards burnout
According to the “Tired of Being Tired: A Report on the Condition of Polish Organization Workers” study conducted by Human Power, as many as 8 out of 10 employees experience fatigue. Over 40% of respondents admitted that relaxation doesn’t provide them with the necessary recovery. As a result, they constantly feel exhausted and derive no satisfaction from their professional lives. Prolonged fatigue can lead to numerous negative consequences, both mentally and physically. Most importantly, it contributes to deteriorating health.
Overworked employees experience elevated blood pressure, increasing the risk of coronary artery disease and heart attacks. Digestive problems, including nausea, stomach pain, and even gastric ulcers, may occur in overworked individuals. Fatigue and constant stress don’t promote proper nutrition. Unfortunately, reaching for low-nutrient snacks can lead to eating disorders, overweight, and eventually obesity, which has negative repercussions on the overall health of the body. Prolonged fatigue can prompt employees to use intoxicants or abuse alcohol.
Overwork increases the risk of developing burnout syndrome, which affects the employee’s health and may require medical intervention. Employee fatigue is a serious problem that should not be underestimated. How can employers help their employees?”
The Important Role of the Employer – How to Prevent Employee Fatigue?
According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA), the continuous physical and mental fatigue of employees, leading to reduced productivity, can cost companies over $136 billion annually. Interestingly, according to reports, nearly 50% of employees say they would be willing to move to another company if it offered them better working conditions, including the possibility of maintaining a work-life balance. Therefore, caring for the well-being of employees should be a priority for every employer. By taking the right steps, a company not only improves employee satisfaction but also increases their retention, which is of paramount importance in today’s challenging job market.
The simple recipe for great employee well-being is being a good employer who cares about their comfort, provides good working conditions, and seeks to help in crisis situations.
How can an employer promote the well-being of employees?
First and foremost, employers should implement tailored solutions that create a friendly and conducive working environment. The place where employees perform their professional duties must be welcoming and adapted to their specific needs. Every employee should have access to essential work tools, such as ergonomic chairs and desks. There should also be relaxation areas in the office. Places for relaxation, once popular only in large corporations like Amazon or Google, are now appearing in an increasing number of companies. Employees have access to well-equipped kitchens and dining areas, special chillout rooms with gaming consoles, board games, and comfortable relaxation areas, and even fitness rooms with the necessary exercise equipment. The opportunity to take a break from daily corporate tasks in such spaces improves employee well-being and reduces the risk of burnout.
An employer who wants to prevent employee fatigue should provide them with convenient employment conditions. The overarching idea of every employee-friendly workplace should be work-life balance, ensuring a balance between personal and professional life.
Monitoring the challenges employees face on a daily basis (from a mental health perspective), responding to crisis situations, and fostering a good atmosphere in the workplace also play a significant role. An employer should cultivate friendly relationships with employees and facilitate the development of friendly relationships among employees by organizing trips or team-building activities, as well as creating shared rituals that strengthen the organization’s culture, such as daily morning coffee, celebrating employees’ birthdays, or having company-paid lunches on a chosen day of the week.”
What to Do When Employee Fatigue Sets In?
When employee fatigue strikes, the first step is to thoroughly analyze the situation within the company. It’s possible that job responsibilities are overwhelming the employees, they may be competing with each other, or there might be a tense atmosphere at various levels of the organization. The key to success is identifying stressors and reorganizing the company’s operations accordingly. Individual interviews with employees can be extremely helpful in gathering information. A good employer ensures that employees are not afraid to clearly communicate their needs and talk about problems. Employers should show empathy and understanding and strive to find solutions to each situation. It’s essential to be an employer who supports their employees and shows that they can rely on them.
Employers should promote psychological support in the workplace. Awareness and education about mental health are steps towards improving employee well-being and combating burnout.
Employees Can Also Help Themselves!
Striving for well-being and preventing fatigue should be a priority for every employee. Taking care of one’s own mental comfort facilitates daily functioning and allows for enjoyment in every moment. What can an employee do when they notice the first signs of burnout?
- Sleep: Adequate and good-quality sleep effectively reduces fatigue and improves well-being. Before going to bed, it’s a good idea to avoid using laptops or smartphones. The bedroom should be well-ventilated and darkened. Meditation or relaxing music can help with falling asleep. Sleep should last about 7-8 hours.
- Diet: Healthy, balanced nutrition affects well-being. A burned-out employee’s diet should consist of wholesome foods, including vegetables, fruits, fatty fish, lean meats, seeds, nuts, and whole grains. Moreover, employees should drink at least 1.5 liters of water daily.
- Physical Activity: Exercise is good for your health! During physical activity, endorphins, often called happiness hormones, are released. Exercise, especially outdoors, not only improves well-being but also enhances fitness, endurance, and supports overall bodily functions. It’s worth dedicating some time every day to your favorite exercises.
- Reducing Some Responsibilities: Excessive ambition does not bring anything good. Sometimes, giving up a few projects or skipping additional overtime hours is enough to feel better. Maintaining a balance between work and personal life is the key to well-being.
- Taking Time Off: A good way to combat burnout is to take a several-day vacation. However, there’s one condition: during your time off, you should absolutely not think or talk about work!
- Talking to Your Manager: Communication is incredibly powerful! Until a problem is openly identified, we cannot change anything. Therefore, it’s worth talking to your employer, informing them when you feel overwhelmed by excessive workloads, and asking for help during difficult times.
Employee fatigue is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. The well-being of employees not only helps avoid severe burnout but also benefits employers. Let’s take care of ourselves! 😊