Have you ever arrived at work, only to find that your employees are slacking, dozing off or even fast asleep in their chair? ‘Tired All the Time’, otherwise known as TATT, is often seen as a syndrome that is similar to chronic fatigue. It habitually causes productivity-related issues such as a lack of concentration, constant fatigue, exhaustion and trouble with decision making. If you’ve noticed a dip in productivity in your employees, then there’s a good chance that it could be caused by TATT.
How does TATT Develop Over Time?
TATT usually isn’t something that happens overnight, but instead manifests over a period of time. It’s usually a collection of bad habits that will cause your employees to become tired such as too many late nights, forcing themselves to take overtime and having a poor diet outside of work hours. Other commitments may also cause this, such as study-related needs or looking after a child. Here’s a brief list of the most common causes of TATT:
- Long nights at home playing games, watching films or reading
- Working too much overtime in a short period of time
- A crying baby or child keeping an employee up at night
- Poor nutrition caused by an unbalanced diet
- Being under or overweight
- Too little or too much exercise
- An over-reliance on caffeine
- Out-of-sync internal body clock caused by night shifts or daytime naps
- Side effects caused by medication
While a day or two of exhaustion is perfectly normal especially if something has happened, it’s not normal to see employees struggling to complete their tasks several days or even weeks in a row.
It’s also important to note that psychological conditions such as stress can also cause an employee to become tired all the time. For example, if it’s crunch time at your organisation and they have more tasks to juggle, then it’s very common to see them struggle with their daily tasks. Depression and emotional shock are also contributing factors that are caused by things outside of your control, such as an employee’s personal relationships or commitments.
Can TATT lead to more Serious Issues?
While TATT can seem like it’s just being caused by a couple of poor lifestyle habits, it’s actually something that they should aim to solve as soon as possible because there are actually many concerning risk factors associated with TATT.
- Anaemia – If it’s a poor diet causing them to be TATT, then it could due to a lack of iron. Also known as anaemia, symptoms can include tiredness and a lack of energy, pale skin and shortness of breath.
- Hypothyroidism – Also known as an underactive thyroid gland, this is a condition where their thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones and could cause tiredness, weight gain and even depression.
- Diabetes – People with type 2 diabetes are unable to utilise the glucose in their bodies correctly, resulting in it building up in their blood and ultimately causing them to have less energy. This causes noticeable fatigue and tiredness in an employee.
- Depression – Depression is another major concern that could be causing TATT. If left unchecked, depression can cause decreases in energy and disrupt daily routines, resulting in poor productivity.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Chronic fatigue syndrome is also characterised by a lack of energy, but can be caused by a weakened immune system, hormone imbalances, stress or potentially a viral infection and should be examined as early as possible.
- Sleep Apnoea – Sleep apnoea is a rather common condition that is characterised by a brief interruption in breathing during one’s sleep. It can have a drastic impact on their quality of sleep and lead to employees feeling tired during the day.
TATT Management Strategies
In order to run a successful business, it’s important to manage the possibility of TATT among your employees and also find the root cause so that they can return to being productive.
First, it’s important to rule out medical conditions. Medical conditions are often out of your control and will need to be dealt with by a medical professional. Have the employee visit the doctor to rule out the possibility of both physical and psychological conditions such as stress, anxiety, anaemia or an underactive thyroid. Should the doctor find something, they will be able to help them return back to their normal productive self.
Next, make sure your employees aren’t degrading their lifestyles. For instance, make sure that they’re eating well, ensure they’re getting enough hydration at work and try to encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle if they’ve recently been pulling all-nighters or struggling to stick to a regular sleep schedule. You might not be able to influence these lifestyle choices much and some employees may need to be verbally warned, but the best solution is to offer help and try to adjust their tasks or responsibilities so that they can recover. This may require some time off or perhaps even a lighter load at work for a short period of time.
Lastly, make sure you’re not the cause of their TATT. Don’t stress out employees too much at work and make sure they’re taking care of themselves especially if it’s crunch time and your organisation is under a heavy load. You should also be responsible for educating your employees about TATT. Let them know they’re entitled to breaks at work and try to influence their eating habits so that they’re not relying on coffee and fast food to sustain themselves throughout the workday.
Things to Remember
Your employees aren’t robots; they’re human beings that often need to be reminded to take it easy especially when they’re tired or worn out. You can’t push them too hard or else their productivity will take a hit, and it’s important to identify any potential issues (especially medical ones) that could be affecting their morale and productivity. If you’re serious about improving your business, then going the extra mile and taking care of your employees is going to create a more positive environment and ultimately be healthier for your business.