3 Ways to Fight Zzzzs in the Workplace
Have you ever seen coffee machines used more than at the workplace? If the coffee pot isn’t full of freshly brewed joe, it’s being cleaned and prepped for another round. Being tired at work is such a common feeling; it’s become the norm rather than an exception. Instead of pumping ourselves full of caffeine and sugar, keeping the temperature in the facility extra cold and/or pinching ourselves to stay awake – it’s time to take a closer look at this new energy norm and evaluate how it could be affecting your productivity as a company. As a manufacturing or recycling company, it’s essential that your employees are well-rested and functioning properly in order to stay safe in high-risk environments.
Lack of concentration, predisposition to accidents, trouble focusing and difficulty staying on task are just a few of the consequences of being fatigued at work. More so, fatigue at work will affect the health of your employees rearing its ugly head in the form of poor food choices, weight gain, high blood pressure, irritability and depression. This translates into liability in the form of accidents handling heavy machinery, employee conflicts, increased work absences, producing poor work product, reduction of motivation, various workplace injuries and so on.
According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 38 percent of American workers surveyed experienced “low levels of energy, poor sleep or a feeling of fatigue” during their past two weeks at work. Research suggests that 10 to 20 percent of Americans suffer from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or insomnia, but many people beyond those with a medical condition regularly struggle with lack of sleep, trouble sleeping and/or fatigue. The study estimated that lost productivity due to fatigue is costing American businesses a whopping $136 million annually!
Most of us have seen or are aware of the common tips to reduce fatigue during the day and improve sleep habits; avoid junk food, drink more water, limit caffeine, get 7-8 hours of sleep, exercise regularly, incorporate healthy snacks and don’t eat too much/close to bedtime. Beyond these tips (which let’s be honest is a hefty list considering how much we juggle on a daily basis), how do you incorporate this into your workplace culture, create awareness and most importantly reduce job-related incidents caused by fatigue?
Incorporate and address workplace fatigue in your company wellness plan to get your company on track, reduce fatigue and create a more productive, safe environment!
Low-Cost Strategies to Address Workplace Fatigue
- Start with a Health Risk Assessment
Include questions related to sleep habits and fatigue on your health risk assessment. Or, issue a separate sleep disorder screening survey to employees. This can help you identify how many employees show signs or symptoms of fatigue and can identify the percentage that may have a more severe disorder such as sleep apnea or insomnia.
- Tailor Programs to Employee Needs
Based on the assessment results, implement programs to address the problems you discovered. If several of your employees have sleep disorders, consider offering counseling or referrals for treatment. You should offer employee educational materials to address the general issue of fatigue.
- Make Changes in the Workplace
If your employees are experiencing fatigue in the workplace, there are targeted changes you can make to help ease the problem. Try to create a workplace as conducive to alertness as possible, including proper lighting, quiet break areas for employees to rest or re-charge and healthy food options. Ask employees what time(s) of the day they’re most tired, and think of ways to address those times (a short extra break, a healthy snack option, etc.). This is especially important for employees who work in safety-sensitive jobs, such as manufacturing and recycling, where fatigue is a serious hazard.
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