Here is an important fact… a lot of people right now are feeling fatigued and weary. They have been adapting to new ways of working, battling with new ’home office’ surroundings and embracing new technologies all within a short time frame. Their routines have been put out of kilter and without an end in sight, it is taking its toll!
Change that we choose to embark upon can be invigorating if sometimes scary, however, change that is forced upon us and that we have no choice about, can lead to a sense of reduced control. Our new ways of working are intense; how common is a full day of back-to-back video meetings with little or no break?
Before every stage of your organisations reaction to the bolide effect, consider the impact of fatigue and weariness on your business. Then consider these questions objectively:
- Do managers have the tools to motivate and manage remotely?
- Are leaders getting the balance right between too much or too little communication?
- Have employees been given clarity of the new working methodologies?
- Are colleagues saying things are better than pre-COVID-19 or worse?
Taking measures to address organisational fatigue and lack of motivation should be seen as an absolute priority and constantly monitored as your organisation adapts to its new environment and seeks to emerge stronger and re-energised.
Place a fatigue check prior to any stage we have outlined in this series.
The clearest symptom of fatigue is mental and physical exhaustion.
It can lead to a reduction in productivity and morale, even if hours worked may go up. As a consequence, motivation is negatively affected and errors more likely to occur. It also inhibits innovation and a through numerous studies has a negative impact on the bottom line.
As we can all recognise, it is a consequence of demands – both physical and mental – exceeding a sustainable capacity to deliver. Even a slight imbalance, over a sustained period of time can lead to the sense of ‘chasing your tail’ and never quite being on top of your commitments. We have all had days, even weeks or longer like this, but the effect of Covid-19 has been that for many people demands to deliver have increased, and yet the operating environment has changed and become less familiar. As we are now months into this new reality, it means for many, there is a common sense of needing to do more in a less familiar operating environment. Unless we are equipped and supported appropriately – this can readily lead to stress and weariness…to fatigue.
Fatigues existence can actually be taken as an opportunity. Interact with your colleagues to co-create a new way of working.
Consult and involve them in both understanding the challenges and demands and also building a fresh new way to work. Everything can be up for change. How you work….where you work…..when you work.
Approach this review and re-build looking at areas such as – physical working environment, times and working patterns, permission for breaks…even daytime naps…wellness; healthy eating, hydration and sleep/recuperation time. So many studies now show the positive impact of circadian lighting, biophilia, movement and exercise, management and leadership awareness and support, that it really is a modern day must for every progressive organisation to consider and address causes of fatigue. Building new and accepted ways to work that lead in turn to increases in motivation, morale and productivity.
It’s an investment that pays off in multiple ways.
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