How to combat common causes of work fatigue

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Do you ever get home from the office and wonder why you feel so exhausted? You’d think that sitting down at a desk all day would be less tiring than an active job on your feet. But fatigue comes in many forms — not just physical.

Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to combat common causes of workplace fatigue. It’s helpful to share the following tips with your team to reduce the risk of exhaustion and burnout

What causes work fatigue in the office?

The causes of workplace fatigue can be put into three categories:

Environmental

Have you noticed that you feel lethargic when the office is too hot or cold or if the light level is low? Environmental factors like temperature, lighting, sound, and humidity can all affect your and your employees’ energy levels.

Physical

Office workers might not be running around all day, but sitting down for hours on end can also be tiring. Staying in one position for too long can lead to stiffness, soreness, and a general feeling of lethargy. 

Screens are another common cause of work fatigue — looking at a screen for prolonged amounts of time can lead to headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, and tiredness. 

Mental

From irregular working hours and impending deadlines to coworker relationships and making decisions, mental load can also lead to fatigue. As well as causing emotional exhaustion, this can also manifest in physical tension and exhaustion.

How to combat causes of work fatigue

So, how can you minimise the risk of employee fatigue in your workplace?

Environmental

  • Try to have close control over the office temperature. Air con can be helpful in the summer, and in the winter, you can use central heating or even provide blankets.

  • Ensure there’s plenty of ventilation. A stuffy room will be uncomfortable and can cause feelings of lethargy.

  • We can’t always control the sound levels around us, particularly in a shared office building or in a busy city centre. However, consider providing a good quality speaker system to play calming yet uplifting music.

Physical

  • Arrange a DSE assessment to improve your team’s desk set-ups. A workstation assessment will ensure colleagues are working safely and comfortably. Following the DSE assessment, use the advice to invest in ergonomic chairs and other appropriate equipment.

  • Provide a water station — it’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re engrossed in emails or other screen-based tasks. Encourage your employees to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

  • Encourage regular screen breaks. The 20-20-20 rule is a good one to follow — every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from looking at your screen. Spend this break looking at something 20 feet (6 metres) away.

  • Muscle fatigue can lead to tension and pain in the shoulders, back, and upper limbs. A desk massage session can help release that tension and improve circulation — offering a welcome energy boost.

  • Regular exercise has a multitude of benefits, including higher energy levels. Have you thought about offering workplace yoga or exercise classes? This can be an excellent way to encourage daily or weekly movement.

  • Another way to incorporate physical activity into your working day is to walk or cycle to work instead of driving or getting public transport. As an employer, you could consider offering a cycle-to-work scheme.

  • Food is the fuel that powers your creativity, innovation and motivation, so healthy eating is crucial in maintaining good energy levels. Try not to skip breakfast, and remember to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. If your office has a vending machine or snack bar, see if you can arrange to have healthy nibbles instead of chocolate, crisps, and fizzy drinks.

If you want more support in encouraging your employees to eat healthily, why not explore our nutrition workshops

Mental

  • A good night’s sleep benefits both physical and mental well-being. Try to get into a regular bedtime routine that allows you to unwind after work and reset effectively overnight. Everyone’s body and circadian rhythm will differ, but the National Sleep Foundation guidelines recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night for a healthy adult. 

  • Again, regular breaks are one of the most important factors when it comes to combating workplace fatigue. Take a 5-10 minute micro-break away from your desk every hour if possible. To get the most out of your short breaks, take a stroll around the office — even if it’s just to the coffee station.

  • Work can be stressful — there’s no denying that. However, we can find ways to manage stress in a healthy and constructive way. Mindfulness and breathing exercises can help us develop resilience and coping mechanisms to deal with stressful situations calmly and minimise fatigue. There are several good apps available that can introduce your team to mindfulness techniques. 

At Workhappy, we also offer workplace mindfulness workshops to help you and your team manage stress and improve overall wellness. Our expert mindfulness practitioners can tailor a one-off workshop to your needs or develop a full programme.

Beat fatigue in the workplace with Workhappy

No matter what role you’re in, work fatigue is common — and sometimes we all just need a holiday! However, the above actions should help reduce ongoing lethargy and boost motivation

Explore our DSE assessment options to ensure your team has the best desk set-up for productivity and success. And for more information on nutrition workshops, desk massage days, and mindfulness workshops, please feel free to get in touch with Workhappy.