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Fatigue is a pressing and serious problem in many workplaces, especially in industries where employees work long hours or perform physically demanding tasks.

Fatigue, exhaustion and burnout can have a significant impact on an employee’s productivity, safety, and overall wellbeing. If it isn’t properly managed, the risk of a serious incident occurring at your workplace increases considerably, which could then lead to investigation and possible prosecution by work health and safety regulators.

Therefore, it is essential for your business and your team to take steps to implement robust fatigue management strategies across all areas of the workplace.

In this article, we will explore several strategies that employers can use to manage physical and mental exhaustion, including the use of anti-fatigue mats.

What are the effects of fatigue in the workplace?

Without proper management, fatigue can have a significant impact on employees and their performance in the workplace.

We’ll outline some of these effects below.

Poor decision-making and moods

One of the most immediate effects of fatigue is a decline in cognitive function. Employees who are fatigued may have difficulty concentrating, making decisions, achieving proper hand eye coordination, and recalling information. This can lead to errors, accidents, and reduced productivity.

Additionally, fatigue can cause employees to feel irritable and moody, which can lead to conflicts with co-workers and decreased job satisfaction.

Increased risk of accidents

There is also an increased risk of accidents and injuries if fatigue is not managed. An employee’s reaction time and general coordination may be impaired, which can lead to catastrophic incidents.

Research indicates that a fatigued worker has a 62% higher chance of experiencing an accident, explained by their heightened risk of committing a human error.

In industries such as construction, manufacturing, and transportation, fatigue-related accidents can be particularly dangerous and expensive. Work-related injuries are estimated by Safe Work Australia to cost the Australian economy $28.6 billion every year.

It is integral not only in these sectors – but all industries – to ensure that any risk management plan takes into account the reduction of employee fatigue.

Deterioration of physical and mental health

Fatigue can also have a negative impact on employees’ physical and mental health. It can lead to problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and depression. It can also weaken the immune system, making employees more susceptible to illness and infections.

Employers who do not take steps to manage fatigue in the workplace may find that their employees take more sick days or experience more long-term health problems. This can then result in reduced productivity, increased workers compensation claims or liability under work health and safety legislation.

6 practical fatigue management strategies to reduce exhaustion across the workplace

Below, we’ve outlined five practical ways that employers in various industries can help reduce fatigue across their operations when implementing a fatigue management strategy.

  • Encourage employees to take breaks

One of the simplest ways to manage fatigue in the workplace is to encourage employees to take regular breaks. Breaks are a legal requirement in many industries, so it is important you stay on top of these obligations.

Taking a break can help employees recharge and refocus, which can help reduce fatigue. You can encourage staff to take breaks by offering flexible scheduling, providing comfortable break areas and creating a culture where taking breaks are encouraged.

  • Provide healthy snacks and drinks

Providing employees with healthy snacks and drinks can also help manage and reduce fatigue in the workplace. Foods that are high in sugar or processed carbohydrates can cause a spike in energy levels followed by a crash, which can lead to fatigue.

Instead, employers should offer foods that are high in protein and fibre, such as nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Water and other hydrating drinks can also help employees maintain their energy levels throughout the day.

  • Encourage physical activity

Regular physical activity can help improve overall health and reduce fatigue. Employers can encourage physical activity in the workplace by offering on-site fitness classes, providing gym memberships or discounts, or offering incentives for employees who participate in physical activities inside and outside of the workplace.

Even simple activities like stretching or taking a walk during breaks can help reduce fatigue.

  • Adjust work schedules

Work schedules can have a significant impact on an employee’s fatigue levels. Employers can manage fatigue by adjusting employees’ rosters to allow for adequate rest and recovery time. This is vital for employees working on night shift, especially when it limits their opportunity to get a good night’s sleep.

Employers can, for instance, offer flexible scheduling options, such as compressed workweeks or working remotely to help employees manage their workloads and achieve a good work life balance.

Additionally, employers can consider adjusting start and end times to accommodate employee preferences and natural sleep patterns.

  • Improve workplace ergonomics

Poor workplace ergonomics can contribute to fatigue and other health problems. Employers can manage fatigue by improving this aspect of their operations, such as by providing ergonomic furniture and equipment, adjusting workstations to fit individual employees, and providing training on proper posture and movement techniques.

These changes can help reduce physical strain on employees and improve overall comfort and productivity.

  • Use anti-fatigue mats

Anti-fatigue mats are an excellent fatigue management tool because they are specially designed mats that provide cushioning and support to employees who stand for long periods. They are typically made of rubber or foam and can help reduce fatigue and discomfort in the feet, legs, and lower back.

Employers can use anti-fatigue mats in areas where employees stand for extensive periods of time, such as at workstations or in production areas. These mats work by providing a soft, supportive surface that can help improve blood flow, circadian rhythm and reduce pressure on the feet and joints.

This can help reduce muscle fatigue and discomfort, which can help employees feel more energised and productive throughout the day. Additionally, anti-fatigue mats can help reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls, which can also contribute to workplace fatigue and injuries.

Looking to manage fatigue across your workplace?

Managing fatigue is essential for maintaining employee productivity, safety, and wellbeing. Employers can use a variety of strategies to manage fatigue when developing a workplace fatigue management policy, including through the use of high-quality anti-fatigue mats.

Here at Prestige Rental Mats, we supply state-of-the-art anti-fatigue mats for businesses across Melbourne. They are specifically crafted to ensure your employees remain safe and productive as they work, helping energise blood flow, keep the heart pumping and work without feeling aching discomfort.

You can learn more about our anti-fatigue mats right here.