A majority of US workers show up to work tired
- Most U.S. employees (74%) are working while tired on the job, a new Accountemps survey found. Almost one-third of respondents said they're "very often" exhausted on the job, and 43% said they're exhausted "somewhat often" while working.
- The survey also examined exhaustion in cities across the country. The city with the highest percentage of tired professionals is Nashville, followed by Austin, Texas, Denver and Indianapolis. Michael Steinitz, Accountemps executive director, said employers should consider the underlying cause of fatigue on the job. "If it's because they're [workers] stretched too thin, retention issues could soon follow."
- To handle exhaustion at work, Accountemps recommended managers set a good example for employees by working reasonable hours, coming to work having had enough sleep and encouraging their team to unplug, or electronically separate, from the office when they leave for home. Accountemps also suggested employees ask for help before they get burned out because their managers might be able to help them prioritize or delegate tasks.
High turnover and a lack of engagement are acute problems for employers. The percentage of exhausted workers was found to be even higher in a Wrike survey, which found that 94% of U.S. and U.K. workers have faced fatigue while on the job. Fatigue gone unchecked may result in retention issues; a quarter of the respondents in the Wrike survey said they might suffer burnout in 12 months if they were not able to bring their fatigue under control. Also, a majority (60%) in that survey said they had searched for a less stressful job.
Employers can choose to be proactive about helping workers overcome debilitating fatigue, brought on by stress. Stress, in turn, leads to burnout, which can cause chronic illnesses, anxiety and depression, and increased absenteeism. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, absenteeism costs employers $450 to $550 million in lost productivity annually. Wrike said in its analysis that the cost of replacing 50 workers earning $60,000 who leave due to stress would total $2.25 million.
Employers have tools to find the root cause of exhaustion.Those options include adopting wellness programs as well as mental health and financial service services. Well-being programs help workers manage stress and chronic stress-related medical conditions, such as back pain. Employers also can tap into employee assistance programs to help workers cope with exhaustion and its after-effects.
Technology makes it easy for employees to stay electronically tied to the office 24/7, constantly checking email messages while at home even during time off. But to help workers with fatigue and stress, employers might encourage them to unplug from the office and take their allotted time off in order to return engaged and rejuvenated. Employers can help managers recognize stress or burnout in workers, alter workloads, if necessary, and offer flexible work schedules.