The Burnout Epidemic

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Burned Out

A new survey by staffing firm Accountemps finds that most American workers are fighting fatigue on the job.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of U.S. workers told Accountemps that they work while tired; nearly one-third (31%) do it often.

More than half of these fatigued workers lack of focus or are  easily distracted, nearly half of them procrastinate more than they would if they were properly rested.

Others are grumpy, and make more mistakes than usual.

Accountemps gathered anecdotes from fatigued workers. Here are some of the mistakes they made:

  • Made a $20,000 mistake on a purchase order
  • Deleted a project that took 1,000 hours to put together
  • Accidentally reformatted a server
  • Fell asleep in front of the boss during a presentation
  • Missed a decimal point on an estimated payment and the client overpaid by $1 million
  • Accidentally paid everyone twice
  • Talked about a client thinking the phone was on mute … it wasn’t

This burnout epidemic is obviously costing both employers and workers.

The solution is to have a well-rested staff. Toward that end, Accountemps is offering tips for managers:

  1. Manage workloads. Meet with employees regularly to evaluate what’s on their plates and set priorities and realistic expectations based on business needs. If there’s too much work to go around, consider bringing in temporary help to keep projects moving forward while relieving the burden on full-time staff.
  2. Encourage employees to take breaks. Some professionals might choose to forgo breaks to get their work done. But remind staff that a tired employee isn’t an effective or productive one – they need an occasional time-out to recharge.
  3. Consider making meaningful changes. Implementing flexible schedules and telecommuting options or providing rest areas in the building can make a big difference for workers.
  4. Lead by example. As a manager, employees take their cues from you, so set a good example. Take sporadic breaks, get away from your desk and work normal business hours. Your staff will likely follow suit.

Of course, workers need to do their part as well. It’s important that you manage your life, find the right balance – and get enough sleep.


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