It’s been a year like no other and as we prepare for the final few months of 2020 now – more than ever – is a time to make sure we’re taking steps to manage our levels of fatigue to keep working safely and productively.
Have you noticed yourself or a colleague more tired and cranky than usual? You’re not alone. Studies around the world are showing increased levels of employee fatigue as people continue to grapple with changed work and home patterns, and in some cases additional anxieties and stress due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
According to a recent report from Korn Ferry, a global organisational consulting firm, employees around the world are increasingly self-reporting burn out – one recent global study showed almost six in every 10 employees report feeling burned out compared to just 45% in April.
If left unchecked, fatigue can lead to further deterioration in mental health and wellbeing, productivity levels and impact worker safety.
Here is some expert advice and steps on recharging techniques that can help you finish the year with renewed energy and focus.
Set break schedules and be specific
Most of us have fallen into a pandemic routine, getting up early to prepare for the long day and blocking out certain hours for meetings or work around our altered family routines that for some, includes home-schooling.
But one thing that many workers do not schedule is breaks.
“It’s not just about saying ‘I don’t have anything at noon, I’ll step away,’ but actually putting it on your calendar and noting exactly what you’re going to do,” says Stacey Perkins, a Korn Ferry Advance career coach.
By weaving regular breaks into your day— 20 minutes at 2 pm for a nap or a quick yoga session—you can recharge.
Focus on the work you enjoy
When you’re having trouble getting motivated, it’s easy to get bogged down over the parts of your job that particularly irk you.
Instead, experts say try to focus on the aspects you like and pause to think about why you like those things. Often you will find the tasks you enjoy remind you of your best skills and can pump you up to keep you moving forward.
Find efficient rewards
There’s no harm in giving yourself a reward when you have finished a hard project, particularly one that’s made you want to pull your hair out. But too often we choose a reward that can set us back.
“If the reward for excelling at work one week is to allow yourself to slack off the next, you could diminish the positive impression you’ve made,” writes Ayelet Fishbach, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, in Harvard Business Review.
“Research on what psychologists call balancing shows that goal achievement sometimes licenses people to give in to temptation—which sets them back.”
Take a day (or two) off
Paid annual leave is provided for a reason and allows employees to rest and recharge. COVID-19 has impacted the global travel industry through border closures and lockdowns in countries and geographic regions around the world.
While travel remains uncertain and may limit potential holiday destinations, don’t neglect the need to take a break, even a short break, now and then.
“Maybe you can’t hop on a plane and take off … but you can discover something in your town or go for a picnic,” Perkins says. “In these uncertain times, taking a day off is so important.”
Help is available – be proactive
There are a variety of mental health, wellbeing and support programs and services available across our global businesses.
If you are experiencing anxiety – or know a colleague who is – reach out through your local HR lead to learn about what is available and how to access these services.
Eat well, sleep well
There’s some proof to the old adage you are what you eat. And there’s plenty of evidence that poor sleep can impact not only your health and mood, but behaviours and relationships.
Eating well and maintaining regular and plentiful sleep is important to your overall health and wellbeing.