Running a business takes a lot of energy, forethought, and endurance. Handling challenging situations, clients, and employees is always in a day’s work and gratitude is not often forthcoming. Some weeks – or months – more than others can be particularly tiring. It is important to do what you can to boost your motivation and enthusiasm. But in focusing on your own state of mind don’t forget to pay attention to your employee’s feelings as well. If the pace of work in your office is slowing down and mistakes are on the rise, take a look around you and search for signs of tiredness. Here are eight important signs of employee fatigue that you should be on the lookout for in your place of business.
1. Irritability – Next time one of your employees responds to you with a sense of frustration, annoyance, or irritation take a step back and consider the situation before responding with your own emotions. Irritability is a major symptom of employee fatigue. If you are seeing this in certain employees, pay attention to them and see if you can think of a way to offer them a boost.
2. Sleepiness – This sign can be easy to spot. An employee looking particularly sleepy, maybe even dozing off at their desk is something most managers have seen before. Though commonly attributed to just plain old laziness, this can actually be a sign of a bigger problem like employee fatigue.
3. Loss of appetite – Did your normally cake-obsessed employee sit out on partaking at the last birthday party? Have you noticed anyone that has stopped taking lunch? These may be signs of a number of problems, as loss of appetite can occur for a number of reasons. But it is also a sign of employee fatigue so pay attention!
4. Giddiness – Though this may sound counterintuitive, giddiness can also be a sign of fatigue. “Giddiness” does not mean “happiness,” but rather refers to hyper, excited behavior that often has no real reason behind it.
5. Digestive Problems – Of course you cannot be expected to measure your employees’ bathroom breaks, but if you do notice one particular employee spending an unusual amount of time in the lavatory, maybe that person is physically ill and perhaps employee fatigue is behind it.
6.Tiredness – Tiredness is similar to sleepiness but doesn’t require the heavy eyelids and nodding off. Your employee might be standing and having a conversation with you and yet still be visibly tired. If this becomes a recurring pattern, there may be a bigger factor at work than failure to get a good night’s sleep.
7.Depression - When an employee seems to be down in the dumps for a long period of time, you might begin to wonder if he is depressed. This is not a diagnosis you can make, but rather requires a medical professional. Yet that does not mean you can’t take notice and try to ease that employee’s burden.
8. Higher Susceptibility to Sickness – It is easy to get suspicious of an employee that calls in sick over and over again but maybe there is a legitimate reason behind it. Fatigue lowers the immune system’s ability to respond to pathogens and so makes people more susceptible to illness.
Why should you care about employee fatigue? Because it makes your employees less effective, directly hurting your business.
About the Author: Steven Burrell has written extensively on the subject of small business solutions. He believes that aptitude testing for employees and students can result in a more successful, productive workplace.