Continuous mental or physical effort, long work periods and rotating shift schedules all can induce fatigue. Omissions, errors, accidents and extensive use of sick and disability time may be the result. Consider the following low-cost, no-cost strategies to reduce fatigue, promote alertness and increase efficiency and productivity.
1. Drink water – Water promotes oxygen flow to the brain and thereby promotes alertness. Provide water coolers or personal drinking bottles and encourage consumption every hour.
2. Breathe – When we are fatigued, our breathing becomes shallow. Encourage employees to take several deep, diaphragm breathes every 10 minutes through the time of greatest fatigue.
3. Stretch – Big muscle movements and stretches get blood flowing and that all-important oxygen moving to the brain. Brisk walking on the spot for even one or two minutes is ideal, but there are many sitting and standing movements which are equally effective.
4. Turn on the Light – Light signals our bodies to be awake and alert, but it must be high-intensity light. Modern technology has provided us with portable lighting systems which mimic this light and which can be installed in various workstations to promote alertness.
5. Nap – If you can overcome the “we pay you to work and not sleep” attitude, you will find that a controlled napping policy will result in measurable improvements in alertness.
6. Sniff – Both peppermint and lemon scents are known to promote alertness. There are several ways that the scents/oils may be used by individuals or you may want to consider a planned infusion program at a workstation.
7. Drink Tea – As simple as it may sound, having a cup of hot tea is a great pick-me-up. Choose one of the many non-caffeine varieties and enjoy!