Four Ways You Can Prevent Tired Workers from Making Costly Mistakes

We’ve all done it: try to strike a better work/life balance by sleeping less and eking by on more coffee breaks through the day. But when your employees show up to work tired, it can end up costing you more than lost productivity – it can also affect your bottom line.

Research from Clockwork Consultants, a UK-based company that helps organizations manage fatigue risk indicated that fatigued employees are three times more likely to have a workplace accident, and lose an average of 5.6 hours a week in productivity.

You can’t control what employees do when they’re off the clock. But here are four key ways you can discourage employees from showing up too tired on the job:

  • Include healthy sleep patterns in safety training sessions or regular meetings with employees. Too little sleep tends to fall under the “I know, but …” category of behaviors. People understand that it’s not ideal, but typically don’t consider it risky enough to change the behavior. Making it visible as a real workplace risk may help workers understand their personal levels of fatigue, and how they can affect their performance in the workplace.
  • Consider developing fatigue risk management policies and procedures. These might include considering “fatigue-safe” work schedules or additional breaks during peak business seasons; or providing snacks for workers during the day to boost energy.
  • Consider adjusting workplace environments to avoid fatigue: Working when it is either too hot or too cold can exacerbate fatigue or sleepiness. Installing safe heating or cooling devices, providing appropriate shelter and ensuring that work spaces are well lit, safe and secure can help prevent workers from succumbing to fatigue.
  • Regularly monitor and review measures put in place:  Whether it’s quarterly or semi-annually, looking at the policies and systems put in place to prevent workplace fatigue will help you understand what’s working, and what’s not. It may also keep you apprised of new issues that pop up with seasonal conditions, or personal situations such as a parenting a newborn, financial stress or multiple jobs that may be contributing to on-the-job fatigue.