But with the outbreak of COVID-19, health concerns, economic uncertainty and work-life changes have had a telling effect on the community and businesses.
Work fatigue creates a number of issues, critically the health and safety of employers and employees. It also has a major impact on efficiency and, especially, productivity.
“Prevention is the key. Once an employee is on the downward spiral of stress it’s hard to turn it around”
What can you do about it?
So, with work fatigue a growing issue in 2020, what can you as an employer do about it?
Firstly, it’s important to recognise the signs of fatigue which can lead to burn out. It’s a gradual, creeping condition.
Highly productive workers may begin to feel the pressure of maintaining their efficiency with the added stresses we are all feeling in this pandemic. They start to show symptoms of reduced productivity, motivation and energy; they show irritability and frustration. They LOOK fatigued.
There are a number of pre-emptive actions you can put into place to reduce your employees’ (and yours, for that matter) stress levels and prevent burnout.
Prevention is the key. Once an employee is on the downward spiral of stress it’s hard to turn it around. It’s important to assess workload, especially for those you believe are more vulnerable (over-achievers; those trying to balance work and family commitments; those under economic pressure, etc.) or seem to be putting in too many hours and pushing themselves.
Once assessed, are the hours they working reasonable? Should strict boundaries be put into place to reduce their working hours?
At the same time, are you setting reasonable expectations on your employees in these tougher times? Certainly business is feeling the pressure more than ever but if your employees burn out you will soon not have a business. An employee under stress is unlikely to reinforce good customer and fellow employee relations.
Simple things like ensuring proper breaks are taken away from their computer/desk, or organising social events can help reduce stress levels.
Provide wellbeing tips on your website and contact details of organisations that can help employees suffering from mental stress.
Remember, as the employer you should lead from the front, demonstrate you are ensuring you balance your work and life.
An obvious but sometimes overlooked activity by employers in these uncertain times is something very simple but effective: communicating with your employees. Brief, informal chats can often help you recognise growing stress in your employees. If your relationship is good enough the employee may express their concerns about stress. This feedback is invaluable, offering you an opportunity to not only show genuine empathy but discuss ways to help.
A simple “Are you OK?” can be the best tonic for stressed employees.
We live in one of the most stressful times the world has ever seen. In the community and in the workplace people are feeling the effects of the epidemic and they aren’t going away soon. There are ways to help your family and employees in these times. But it starts with how you, yourself are travelling.
Are you OK?
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