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Infographic: The psychology of work fatigue

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Have you ever gotten home from a long day sitting at a desk and wondered why you were so tired?

Based on researches by various institutions, Psych Degrees has compiled an infographic, summing up the possible reasons behind this fatigue and what managers and leaders can encourage their teams to do in order to cope better.

Fatigue is defined as a state of physical and mental exhaustion beyond tiredness – including lack of motivation and low energy, and the signs include: tiredness that lasts for days despite adequate sleep; difficulty concentrating, confusion and disorganisation; and feelings of depression and anxiety.

People who work night shifts, rotating shifts, long hours and early morning shifts are more at risk of experiencing fatigue. Healthcare providers, first responders and service employees fall in this category.



The studies also revealed how fatigue leads to stress, which then leads to a negative impact of jobs on the worker’s health.

In fact, it was found in the following percentages of employees:

  • 26% of those in low-paying jobs
  • 14% in high-paying jobs
  • 26% of retail employees
  • 13% of office employees
  • 25% of people working more than 50 hours a week
  • 7% of those working less than 30 hours a week

[ALSO READ: How to eliminate the biggest source of stress at work]

The health conditions and even mental reactions brought on by continued stress include:

Feeling physically and emotionally unwell

  • 34% of workers surveyed reported headaches from elevated stress
  • 33% experience nervousness or anxiety
  • 32% feel depressed or sad

Unhealthy coping mechanisms

  • Around 50% have yelled or lost patience with their loved ones
  • 46% were unable to calm their minds to sleep
  • Nearly 40% overeat or eat unhealthy foods due to stress

Lack of sleep

  • 34% reported experiencing stress-induced fatigue
  • Those with fatigue have nearly twice the risk of injury than those without it
  • About 13% of work injuries can be attributed to a lack of sleep


Fatigue and stress derived from work are not always easy to avoid, but it is important that HR leaders adopt simple ways to encourage a more stress-free environment:

Strategies to reduce fatigue in staff

  • Ensure staff are getting at least 30 minutes of break for every few hours worked, depending on requirements by the local regulations.
  • Where possible, encourage workers to work from home or work remotely to improve work-life balance
  • Be open to talking with employees on any concern they may have on work hours or shifts, and work towards a solution with them
  • Outside of the office, workers should also get at least eight hours of sleep per night, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule, especially when they work night shifts or rotating shifts.
  • Keep hydrated as well, as dehydration can make you even more tired. Meditation, yoga and healthy eating are also great mood boosters and good for developing mental clarity.

Lead image and infographics / Provided

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