Everyone has experienced bouts of fatigue and exhaustion at work. It is one of the most commonly experienced conditions that affect workers. When your employees are fatigued, work safety and productivity will suffer.

Did you know that sleep deprivation and fatigue costs around one-million dollars a year for the average company with 1000 or more employees? That’s a lot of money lost, but that’s not the only concern when dealing with fatigued employees, as safety will suffer if your employees are exhausted. Keep reading to learn more about employee fatigue in the workplace and how you can address the issue proactively before someone gets hurt or productivity suffers.

When determining if your employees are feeling the stress and strain of fatigue, look for any of the following signs:

1. General tiredness, weariness, or sleepiness. Look for signs of drooping heads, incessant yawning and eyelids closing to determine if your employees are feeling tired.

2. Irritability and frustration. When people don’t get enough sleep, they can get short fused and cranky in the blink of an eye. If you are noticing more irritability or bad attitudes in the office, employee fatigue and exhaustion may be to blame.

3. Reduced focus, concentration or alertness. Keep an eye out for workers who appear to have trouble focusing on their work or can’t remember seemingly simple things, like what they just said or did. Difficulty problem-solving can also indicate fatigue.

4. Lack of motivation. Employees who suddenly seem to lack motivation to do their job or do their job well can indicated fatigue.

5. Increases mistakes or lapses in judgement. When employees are tired, the increase in mistakes made can be substantial because good sleep is crucial to keeping them safe on the job. If you have an employee who normally does an excellent job but begins to make poor decisions or makes more mistakes, fatigue may be to blame.

6. Increased susceptibility to illnesses. Employees that are starting to take more time off due to illness may be suffering from sleep deprivation and fatigue. You may notice an uptick in colds, flus or other illnesses when your employees are battling fatigue, which can cost you money in productivity.

If you’ve noticed any of the above signs in your employees, you will need to try to address the issue to ensure everyone is well rested and able to do their job well.

Below are some tips on proactively addressing employee fatigue:

Schedule employees appropriately. Ensuring your employees aren’t working themselves to death, and giving them adequate time off to rest can help prevent excessive fatigue at work. For example, giving your employees consistent schedules, allowing them to take breaks, and letting them have 2 consecutive days off a week can help ward off fatigue, and even reduce employee burn out.

Balance workloads and staffing. Try to avoid a skeleton crew as much as possible. When you divide work up between less people, your employees are more likely to suffer from exhaustion, stress, and fatigue due to the increased work load.

Develop a recording system for fatigue-related accidents and incidents. This will help you identify patterns and give you a better idea of how to manage and prevent fatigue related incidents.

Train your employees on fatigue, the consequences of fatigue, and how they can manage sleep disorders. Do not limit this training to those working under you, train supervisors and managers as well, with a focus on how to monitor and identify fatigue in employees.

When you proactively address sleep deprivation and fatigue, it will save you money, increase productivity and employee morale, and help prevent catastrophic incidents and emergencies related to fatigue.