Initiatives to Address Workplace Fatigue
Posted May 02, 2018
Fatigue in the workplace is a serious problem. Fatigued individuals are less productive, less focused, have more medical problems, are absent more often and are more likely to be involved in a job-related safety incident. Fatigue management can be a relatively easy and inexpensive wellness initiative to help alleviate this problem among your employees.
Measuring and Managing Employee Fatigue
If you include fatigue and sleep disorders on a health risk assessment (HRA), you can use that information to help tailor an educational initiative. Likewise, you can administer an assessment specifically for sleep and fatigue.
Based on the results of the assessment, consider implementing programs to address the problems you discovered.
- Offer employee educational materials to address the general issue of fatigue, including why getting adequate sleep is so important and tips for getting better sleep.
- Look into sleep-tracker websites, apps or tools that would allow employees to record their nightly sleep amount and corresponding mood. Consider offering an employee discount on such tools.
- Cultivating certain habits can contribute to a better night’s sleep. Encourage employees to eat nutritiously, exercise regularly, and limit their consumption of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
- If sleep disorders are an issue for your workforce, consider offering counseling or referrals for treatment.
General changes in the workplace can also effectively address fatigue and its accompanying risks.
- Install proper lighting, designate quiet break areas and offer healthy food options in break rooms.
- Consider adjusting policies to allow for more frequent and restful breaks.
- Use machinery and equipment that eliminates or reduces any excessive physical demands of your employees. This can include ergonomic furniture and anti-fatigue matting.
- Ask employees what time(s) of the day they are most tired, and think of ways to address those times, e.g., offering a short extra break, providing a healthy snack option or allowing them to listen to music. This is especially important for employees who work in safety-sensitive jobs, where fatigue is a major hazard.
Take a look at your individual job descriptions and workloads as well to see if there may be a reason why a certain person or department may be struggling with fatigue. If you see that a job description is unbalanced or has had responsibilities added to it over the years, consider the following:
- Redesign the job to include a variety of mental and physical tasks instead of all physical or mental.
- Eliminate any excessive demands from a job either by deeming them unnecessary or sharing those responsibilities with another employee.
- Introduce job rotation in an effort to limit both mental and physical boredom and fatigue.
Taking even small actions is an important first step in addressing fatigue in your workplace. Contact Horst Insurance for educational materials and posters to assist in your workplace fatigue management efforts.