A very wise man’s formula of E=mc^2 gives us some profound answers for work-life balance. This man is known to be one of the most creatively supercharged humans of our times. Based on Einstein’s theory of relativity, one could argue that working too hard over time, without a break, requires an infinite amount of energy – making one a dull and unimaginative person; rendering the weight of work unbearable. Consequence? Employee Fatigue.
Since the pandemic, organizations have tackled many changes. One miss, and teams can slip into a loop of work employee fatigue due to blurring personal and professional boundaries. Companies know deep down what tasks are draining employee energy and what tasks are replenishing it. Then, why can some workplaces still not, instinctively know, where to draw the line? How to address the ‘weight of work’ in these challenging times, in a way that is creative, rejuvenating and adds value to employee and employer relationship?
The Problem Of Employee Fatigue
Fatigue is to productivity, what a match is to an atomic bomb. Being in a constant state of exhaustion can lead to reduced energy, attention, and motivation. Imagine your mind going boom with numbness! Just like an afternoon slump, employee fatigue can manifest in depreciating physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It creeps in slowly but quickly reduces one’s capacity to perform.
If this has been happening with your team, you need to be able to identify the signs associated with it – Stress, sleep deprivation, erratic work schedules, tight deadlines, organizational changes, negligible human interaction, loss of a loved one or just chronic exhaustion due to loss of meaning in one’s work output!
Productivity v/s Serenity
As an employer, HR, or peer – how do you break through to someone to offer them support through fatigue? By not labelling everything! Irritability, moodiness, lack of concentration, absenteeism can often be signs of employee fatigue. Before concluding these symptoms as an individual problem, listen to the causal factors that may be relative in nature.
In addition to this, ‘emotions’ form the crux of one’s adaptive value, which has been deeply shaken during the pandemic. A recent research by Harvard Business School suggests that people are guided by four basic emotional drives, that are the product of common evolutionary heritage. These form the ABCD of human motivation and can be implemented to find a creative equilibrium to today’s employee issues:
Achieve | Belong | Challenge |Depend
Challenging True Potential To Overcome Fatigue
It is critical now, more than ever, to understand that one size doesn’t fit all. Every employee needs to be challenged in a unique way. With the pandemic, people’s control on outcomes is hindered. Some employees might be in an overdrive to perform while others demotivated. This is an opportunity to revise people-practices. Leaders can connect their employees’ efforts to the larger goals of the organization by encouraging them to make a difference in new ways. They can be upskilled to become experts at a hobby, educators of a cause, and be empowered to pursue things they are interested in, regardless of its apparent relevance to their jobs.
Empathy To Nurture Belongingness And Dependence
We are living in times that necessitate normalization of seeking mental health assistance. What people are going through, emotionally, is valid. Systems and processes need to, empathetically, make people feel valued, wanted and heard to counter the impact of employee fatigue. The emotional drive to ‘depend’ has been heightened by the pandemic. Uncertainties make employees feel disengaged, wanting for more transparency and communication. Creating a psychologically safe environment is crucial in this hour.
Today’s employee demographic is not just metric driven. It is imperative to create a system that provides space for personal growth. The emotional need to belong is manifested through company culture. Clear performance objectives, backed by rewards and recognition, can enable an employee to achieve more and feel acknowledged. Repressing feelings of fatigue can seriously render life unproductive, unhappy and meaningless. A business case, thus, needs to be made for explicitly creating a system for enhancing purposefulness at work.