9 Ways to Reduce Overwork and Employee Fatigue

January 13, 2021 | 92 views

9 Ways to Reduce Overwork and Employee Fatigue
9 Ways to Reduce Overwork and Employee Fatigue

Since the onset of the coronavirus, workplace regulations and changes have been continual. Employees have been furloughed, brought back, ordered to work from home, and asked to cover extra hours or be on call. Now, emerging health rules, distancing, and mask-wearing make employees more stressed, too. There are fear and trepidation, both of which can be tiring day after day.

If shift work is the standard for your industry, fatigue is always a concern. The current pandemic, too, creates an environment that also fatigues employees. There are extra stresses related to the pandemic itself. The risk to a business and the employees are considerable. When employees have to monitor customer mask-wearing or have to tell customers that policies have changed, that additional responsibility creates stress which, in turn, causes fatigue. It is exhausting to stay on top of workloads and regulations, so we must strive to minimize overworked employees and help them alleviate fatigue. 

1.  Enforce safety procedures. Long shifts for high-risk positions can be a dangerous combination. Whether you have shift work or jobs whose work is sensitive to fatigue, you must appropriately regulate schedules to avoid risk. With the coronavirus, disinfection and mask-wearing requirements also add strain to a day. We must recognize the fatigue caused by more protocols.

2.  Schedule breaks as needed. Consistently ensure that employees have breaks scheduled. These moments are necessary to refuel and recover. A well-used break adds relief for employees and productivity for your business.

3.  Encourage wellness. Good self-care encompasses mental health and physical health. The better the health of employees, the higher the production levels for your business. Encourage employees to take care of themselves, take their vacations, use employee assistance programs, and remain attentive to their health.

4.  Provide healthy snacks. Good nutrition helps alleviate fatigue. Combined with a quick walk, employees will feel less overworked and less fatigued.

5.  Hire adequately. Overtime hours, unexpected shifts, and long shifts will overwhelm employees. Employ enough people to reduce the need for last-minute coverage and overtime.

6.  Ease into shift changes. For shift workers, time changes disrupt focus and reduce safety. We must use care to avoid fatigue and other health issues caused by drastic change. Allow 24 hours or more before rotating a worker to a different shift so that they can rest and adequately prepare themselves.

7.  Be flexible. Especially now. With children home-schooled, it might be better to change hours to accommodate employee needs. They will be less stressed, and they will perform better for you.

8.  Ensure days off each week. When employees work several days in a row, it is exhausting. Even if employees then have multiple days off, the change of cycle causes fatigue. In some states, it would cost more in wages, too, so maintain regular days off each week.

9.  Redistribute workloads. Not every shift has the same workload. Know the details of heavy hours versus lighter work hours. Shorten the harder shifts, and lengthen the easier shifts if possible, or redistribute the load more evenly among employees.

Several things cause fatigue, but we can help prevent the problems and that overwork and fatigue cause. With good scheduling practices, we can reduce the risk caused by overworked employees and improve their contribution to the organization. With the appropriate scheduling of hours and breaks, a business will remain more productive by having employees healthy and well-rested.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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