Is Fatigue Affecting Your Team? What Can You Do to Minimize It?


The hospitality industry is a very high-demand career. Long hours are often required, including late nights and even overnights. Getting adequate rest can be difficult, yet it is essential. What are the signs your team members are not getting enough rest, and what can you do about it?

Fatigued workers can cost employers thousands annually in lost productivity and can cause safety issues on the job. Recent studies have shown that driving drowsy is as bad as driving drunk. You would not allow an employee to work under the influence of alcohol. Why would you allow them to work highly impaired by fatigue?

Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but many don’t get nearly that much.  Sleep deprivation can cause illness, leading to lost productivity and absenteeism.

Fatigue can impair memory, which is important in providing the kind of service your customers expect. Whether it’s a restaurant worker who needs to remember a special order for a diner or a hotel professional who needs to be sharp on an overnight shift, operating at full brain capacity is essential to success.

What can you do to minimize on-the-job fatigue?

Avoid rotating shifts. At least short rotations. It takes a long time for people to adapt to different sleeping hours. The human body is accustomed to sleeping during the night hours and being wakeful during the day. Of course, you need to staff your facility appropriately for the customers who will be there, but don’t switch shifts every week or two. That’s not enough time to adjust to a new cycle. Consider perhaps three-month cycles which allow a longer period in which they can adapt.

Provide short rest breaks when possible. For example, for hotel employees scheduled on an overnight shift, you may be able to accommodate a half-hour nap somewhere quiet during a shift if there is adequate coverage. It only takes a short rest to return refreshed and ready to perform. Automate what tasks you can. If you can reduce the number of human hours required to be worked, especially during down times, you reduce the number of employees who will be subject to shorter sleeping hours or odd cycles.

Discuss with your employees the importance of sleep. In the American culture, the idea of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is pervasive. People almost view getting adequate rest as an indication of laziness. Be sure your employees know that rest is valued in your organization and you consider it a priority.

For more ideas on hiring top hospitality talent and providing your employees with the resources and support they need to perform at their peak on the job, contact the restaurant and hotel recruiters at Horizon Hospitality.



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