Posted on: 20th October 2022
Reading time: 7 mins
At a time when companies have the opportunity to revolutionise the way their teams work, here are some ways in which they can encourage their employees to reduce their fatigue.
In the era of remote and hybrid working, companies are perfectly positioned to tackle the fundamental barriers to employee satisfaction and productivity that have historically plagued the office. One of which is the problem of fatigue.
Conventional workplaces often see employees tethered to their desks for eight hours a day or more. They are under constant pressure to be engaged in their work, and when they can’t, they learn to get into the habit of looking busy. And that in itself can be exhausting.
Progressively-minded companies are tirelessly looking for new working methodologies to insulate their employees from fatigue. In doing so, they can protect themselves from fatigue and eventual burnout, while still empowering themselves to perform to the best of their ability and thrive in their careers.
The burnout problem
Hard work expends energy. That’s perfectly natural. But pushing workers past the point of fatigue is one of the fastest ways to ensure that they burn out. And employee burnout is a huge problem for employees and employers alike. According to research by MetLife, employees could be costing UK companies as much as £700m a year in lost productivity with over 80 million hours of lost employee time due to sickness. The same research revealed that 44% of employees admit to calling in sick due to feeling exhausted, stressed, depressed, overwhelmed and unmotivated.
Here are some ways in which employers and employees alike can work together to reduce fatigue and ensure a healthy, happy workforce.
Purpose is a powerful motivator. During the pandemic, many workers started to feel detached from their employer, as if they were working in a vacuum that was dissociated from their career goals, the broader goals of the company, and the sense of purpose and fulfilment that they got from their job. In some instances, this sentiment among employees has endured.
A global study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed that promoting a shared sense of identity among employees helps them to identify more as a member of the team. And with motivation and connection up, the risk of burnout decreases.
A shared sense of values, direction and purpose should be maintained even when the workforce is separated geographically. Hybrid working can be very effective here, enabling teams to come together in a shared workspace, or at the company HQ to coordinate before dispersing to work on discrete tasks at home.
In their zeal to create a sense of cohesion between remote team members, leaders and managers can fall into counterproductive habits when it comes to online meetings.
As well as scheduling too many of them, they can fail to account for the growing phenomenon of ‘Zoom fatigue’. Being on camera can be quite a drain on our energy, combining an approximation of face-to-face interactions with effectively looking into a mirror at the same time. Furthermore, gallery modes can be very distracting.
Try to reduce the frequency and volume of online meetings and consider making audio-only the default.
We all know how frustrating it can be to spend our time staring at a blank screen. This productivity paralysis is the symptom of an overworked and exhausted mind. Tethering ourselves to that screen is a cul de sac that leads only to exhaustion, frustration and self-doubt.
Employees should plan regular breaks to take a walk, read a chapter of a book, or enjoy a refreshing drink while they give their brains a rest. Furthermore, employers should actively encourage this.
Working in one place can be stifling to the mind. Especially when employees confine themselves to a single room for the majority of their working days. When fatigue settles in, and creative block strikes, employees should spend a little time outdoors. Switching to a hybrid working model can be a huge boon to employees in this regard. Working in shared workspaces that are closer to home, employees spend less time commuting, leaving them with more opportunities to take a walk, go for a jog, or even take a trip to their local gym.
A 2015 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in the US demonstrated that standing time in fresh air among plants and trees improved mental health, while a 2021 report by the UK’s Mental Health Foundation showed that spending time in nature could help to aid concentration, memory and focus.
We all know what a comfort that first coffee of the morning can be. But chugging cup after cup throughout the day can actually hasten fatigue rather than dispelling it.
Caffeine works by binding to and blocking receptors of the neurotransmitter adenosine. The compound responsible for making us feel tired as the day progresses. The brain keeps on producing adenosine as the day progresses and the caffeine starts to wear off, resulting in the cumulative effect of feeling more tired than you would if you had foregone the caffeine.
This is why it’s so important to drink coffee in moderation and avoid the urge to drink it throughout the day.
Hybrid workers tend to be at their most creative and energised when they have greater control over their working hours. And their preferred hours may deviate from the traditional 9 to 5. This may be part of the reason why studies demonstrate that hybrid working increases average productivity by 3-5%.
Being able to plan their working hours around the school run, gym sessions, or just some much-needed rest and relaxation can boost the quality and quantity of work produced. With true autonomy over their working hours, employees can achieve a much healthier work-life balance than they ever could shackled to their desks.
Scheduling regular opportunities for team members to gather professionally and socially can reinforce the team’s sense of identity and help individuals feel as though their efforts make a direct contribution to the company’s achievements. By enabling meet-ups in the company HQ and local flexspaces, a hybrid system is a great enabler for this increased facetime. Flexspaces not only bring great opportunities for collaboration and social interaction, but networking opportunities with like-minded individuals that simply aren’t accessible to those who spend all their time working from home.
Regus business centres are designed to facilitate hybrid working and mitigate the chances of employee burnout. With business-grade tech, super-fast reliable Wi-Fi and flexible contracts, businesses can help their employees get the best hybrid working experience.
Want to know more about how we can help with hybrid working? Give us a call.
We’ll get you set up straight away.
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