The True Cost of Workplace Fatigue on Your Business (and How to Fix It)

You are aware of the potential harm that can befall your employees within the workplace, some of it physical while, other times, mental or emotional. One thing we don’t often discuss, however, is the cost of workplace fatigue on your business.

In the case of workplace fatigue, we have previously examined how the resulting decrease in attention, increase in reaction time, and a decrease in cognitive response can lead to disastrous situations. Needless to say, when your employees suffer from workplace fatigue, it can have devastating consequences on their ability to function.

cost of Workplace fatigue

The effect workplace fatigue has on employees is only one-half of the equation though. Have you ever taken the think about what the true cost of workplace fatigue is on your business as a whole? Because, as your employees’ performance suffers, so too will your business.

In the following article, we examine how workplace fatigue can negatively impact your business’s efficiency, quality, the morale of your team, and, ultimately, revenue.

7 Undeniable Costs of Workplace Fatigue on Your Business

Okay, so you know that workplace fatigue is incredibly harmful to your employees’ well-being as well as your overall workplace wellness. Now it is time to look at the financial consequences of allowing this type of fatigue to run rampant through your operation.

cost of Workplace fatigue

1. Staffing Capacity Changes

When employees are feeling exhausted or burned out, you are likely to experience more unexpected and unexplained absences from work. This can impact your organization in a number of ways:

  • You are often understaffed and unable to meet consumer demand.
  • Stress levels increase as you rush to find someone else to fill absent employees’ roles on short notice.
  • You feel rushed to find any replacement, even if they are unqualified to do the job and will slow down turnaround or compromise quality.

2. Employee Turnover Increases

Workplace fatigue may lead to more significant employee absences in the form of termination or resignation. In addition to the side effects noted above, you also have to invest time, money, and resources into the recruitment process, which is a particularly draining process for any business at any time.

3. More Overtime Payouts

When fatigue starts to affect your workforce and employees become unreliable in meeting demands or even showing up for work, it is everyone else who is responsible for carrying that load.

cost of Workplace fatigue

With fewer employees available to sufficiently cover everything or employees who are present but not able to stay productive or focused during their shifts, you are going to see more overtime requests come through.

4. Increase in Workers’ Compensation Cases

Another cost you will have to contend with as a result of workplace fatigue is workers’ compensation. As noted earlier, workplace fatigue can cause employees to react unsatisfactorily to normal stimuli, which, in turn, can lead to more on-the-job injuries. These injuries can lead to employees being unable to sufficiently do their job as they heal or recover from their wounds, which will also compromise your workflow efficiency and quality.

cost of Workplace fatigue

5. Toxic Work Environment

As people deal with fatigue, they tend to become more irritable and less empathetic. Without the ability to remain calm, patient, and understanding of what’s happening all around–not just with coworkers, but with customers, too–you may find your workplace corrupted by fatigue-induced toxicity.

6. Innovation Drops

Workplace fatigue can also take its toll on your team’s ability to be innovative. When problem-solving, creativity, or ingenuity factor heavily into your employees’ job descriptions and are what enable you to sharpen that edge over the competition, you cannot afford to have something like fatigue and sleeplessness compromise that.

7. Customers Lose Faith

You also have to worry about how much of this workplace fatigue spills over into the customer-facing side of your business. Even if they are not directly exposed to employee absences, turmoil within your ranks, or rampant mistakes, customers will sense that something is up. This will, in turn, lead to a decrease in your business’s reputation and incoming revenue.

Regarding what all this costs your business in actual dollars, an infographic from Virgin Pulse claims that sleep disturbances in your workforce could cost about $2,000 per employee each year.

cost of Workplace fatigue

If you want to know the exact cost of workplace fatigue for your business, you can use the National Safety Council’s Fatigue Calculator. Just enter the details about your organization’s size, location, and industry, and find out what the real costs of fatigue are.

So, what can you do to cut back on this very costly and harmful workplace fatigue? Get to the root of the problem. Implement a wellness program that works specifically to address workplace fatigue and the root causes. Also, it would be in everyone’s best interest to institute company policies that encourage healthier life choices, more open communication, improved workflows, morale-building exercises, and a better work/life balance.

As the President and Founder of Sleepwell Consulting Inc. Amanda is a Sleep Educator who works with companies of all sizes to help promote better sleep and better business.

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