Fatigue at work

February 11th, 2011

The traditional 9-5 work day no longer prevails, and in many workplaces today you’re more likely to work a few extra hours, which can take its toll. In order to avoid work fatigue and increase satisfaction in other areas of your life, studies show you must like your job. Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter says that people who like their jobs are twice as likely to thrive in other areas of their life. Getting enough sleep is one way to improve your performance and enjoyment at work, and can be achieved through a few easy changes.

Changes at Work

According to the Australia’s Biggest Health Check study, 32 % of people surveyed cited they felt, “extremely stressed” due to long work hours. If you are experiencing stress-related fatigue from spending too long at work, it is crucial that you negotiate less work hours to ensure maximum performance while at work. Deciding some tasks that may be completed at home or do not require maximum effort can allow you to devote full attention to top-priority tasks, so you’re not burning the candle at both ends. Delegating tasks is also an option if the nature of the task and workplace hierarchy allows.

Changes at Home

When at home, it’s important to set strict times for taking work-related calls and stick to it. For example, Allan Watkinson, a principal consultant for a Sydney-based management-consulting firm, suggests, “Tell your colleagues you’ll be available until 7pm, and then you’ll respond to everything else in the morning. The voice message on your phone should say the same thing.”

Once it’s time for sleep, there are a few things you can do to make sure your body is getting quality rest:

  • Don’t go straight to bed;
  • Make sure you prepare yourself beforehand by reading a magazine, having a bath or a cup of tea;
  • Avoid television or any overstimulating activities so your mind can unwind; and
  • If you do not fall asleep within half an hour, get up and do something, otherwise your body will learn that bed is not a place for rest.

If all else fails…

If you feel tired during the day, take a nap of no more than 25-minutes to rejuvenate your mind and body, ensuring you make up for the time lost through increased productivity for the rest of the day. However, be careful not to sleep for any longer during the day, as your body’s circadian rhythms can slow too much making you feel even more tired than before.

The important thing to remember if you are experiencing work fatigue is that it’s better to be more productive during shorter hours, than working longer hours to less effect. Any reasonable manager should respect and understand that if the current arrangements are not suitable for you, something needs to change.