The COVID-19 pandemic has touched or directly impacted nearly every aspect of society; the workplace is no exception. Overnight, many employees were thrust into remote work while others were forced to work longer hours under more stressful circumstances. While worker fatigue existed long before this pandemic, COVID-19 has caused a new level of worker fatigue.
What Is Worker Fatigue?
Stress levels have increased over the last two years, and the U.S. worker has suffered as a result. While fatigue can be defined as “a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy,” worker fatigue stems from nonstandard schedules, extended work hours, and disruptions in home and work-life balance. In short, worker fatigue happens when an employee gets burnt out.
COVID-19’s Impact on Worker Fatigue
The pandemic has played a massive role in increasing worker fatigue and the stressors associated with it. The transition from working in a traditional office to working at home or in an open office disrupted employees’ professional and personal lives across the country.
According to Gallup, “48% of America’s working population is actively job searching or watching for new opportunities. The U.S. has reached a record-high quit rate and a record-high number of unfilled positions.” The same report by Gallup found that the American worker saw stress levels surge in 2020, a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainties that surrounded its coverage.
Workers are two years into the pandemic and still experience the same stressors. Forbes found that “many employees are still…operating within blurred lines between professional and personal lives. This list of ongoing trends has resulted in widespread mental, emotional, and physical fatigue, leading to unprecedented levels of employee burnout.”
The most startling statistic for managers and business owners of all might be that “74% of employees experience burnout on the job.” This worker fatigue has permeated the workplace, and if left unchecked, it will only cause drastic problems for employers.
How to Combat Worker Fatigue
With worker fatigue increasing, employers must take unprecedented steps to retain top talent and keep operations moving smoothly. A revolving door of employees is hard on both employers and teams, so providing employees with the tools and resources needed to be successful in their roles is key.
Monitor Time-Off Usage
To combat worker fatigue, Forbes suggests that employers monitor time-off usage. Many employees feel that to prove dedication, they can’t take time off. Additionally, some employees may be anxious about stepping away from work for a short period. Failing to manage a healthy work/personal life balance is a fast track to burnout. Offering PTO or unlimited time off can help employees feel more in control of their schedules, provide them with opportunities to recharge and return to work with fresh ideas, and break up the monotony of work schedules.
Develop a Workplace Culture That Focuses on Strengths
Employees are less likely to find themselves in a rut if they are being challenged, supported, and valued. The best managers play to their team members’ strengths. For some, that’s leading a project or objective to achieve the desired purpose. For others, that’s building and implementing a strategy all on their own. It merely depends on the person.
Creating a culture and workplace that caters to a wide range of personalities and intrinsic motivators can be difficult. How the office is set up can play a huge role in that. Due to the complex nature of COVID-19, many companies have opted for a more open workspace. Gone are the days of tiny cubicles and designated workplaces. Open workspace makes it possible for team members to easily collaborate and for departments to utilize the space that best suits their needs. That being said, employees still need some personal space or privacy for phone calls or video conferences.
Fortunately, Loop Phone Booths is helping employers solve this need. A Loop Phone Booth is a simple solution to the open-concept office. Loop provides privacy and eliminates distractions in the office while maintaining the open-space concept. Specially designed to be silent, ventilated, and wired for electronics, a Loop pod can foster better concentration and eliminate overall noise.
Engage with Your Employees
Actively engaged employees see success at much higher rates than those who don’t feel engaged at work. Managers that make “engagement” a priority help employees establish expectations and priorities, eliminate unnecessary stress, and offer support when needed.
Address Mental Health
While leaders in HR have long realized the importance of mental health in the workplace, it is now a focus for managers. Providing or directing employees to the available resources within the company, or offering resources outside of it, will help employees achieve better work-life balance while managing concerning matters.
Worker fatigue is real, and it is not going away anytime soon. The managers and business owners that work with their employees to combat it will see success and a flourishing workplace. Those who disregard worker fatigue may start to see a transient workforce and a disruption in day-to-day operations.