Helping people pace themselves and cope with exhaustion

As a manager, it’s understandable that you want to get the best out of your staff. You might be under pressure to meet deadlines or reduce waiting lists – whatever your targets are, your staff are going to be vital to you achieving them. But it’s important to remember that for your staff to be performing at their best they need to have time to rest and recuperate. When workloads increase, it can often feel like we have no choice than to work even longer hours because vulnerable people depend on us. This can lead to burnout, and for staff working from home, a blurring of the lines between work and personal lives.

If you have staff working from home, talk to them about how they will take breaks from their computers and phones during the day and be explicit that you want them to do this. Help staff who are at work think about how they can get breaks during the working day. Provide cover so that people can take breaks and make sure there are appropriate facilities for them to use, including quiet areas.

Everyone will need a break at some point. Discuss how and when staff will take their annual leave and make it possible by arranging cover. Keep an eye on people who seem reluctant to stop. As a manager, all of this applies to you too. Make sure you are giving yourself the same breaks you are encouraging your staff to take.

Please note that if people have been working full tilt for a long period, then they may not realise how physically and emotionally exhausted they are until they stop. Prepare staff for this and remind them of the resources and support available (including on this website) if they need it.

There’s helpful information about dealing with fatigue here.

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