Being too tired at work is not just your problem
Shifting the responsibility for feeling tired at work - to your boss - seems a fitting topic for discussion on the first Monday of daylight saving.
And if Safe Work Australia has their way, we’ll soon be allowed to expect our employers to manage our fatigue for us.
They’re proposing a new code of practice for employers, expected to be finalised next year that will be admissible in court if an employer is charged with breaching workplace health and safety laws.
It includes a proposed “fatigue checklist” to assist employers in gauging whether their employees have slept enough to manage tasks safely. As well as rosters that accommodate workers’ social lives and training sessions to help people balance “work and personal lifestyle demands”.
What a great idea. It’s about time we put more emphasis on discussing the importance of flexibility and open communication in the workplace, particularly for people who are expected to do shift work.
But while this code of practice is mostly designed for people installing power lines and others doing dangerous tasks, there is no reason why we shouldn’t apply the same principles to office workers.
These proposals place a much needed and far too rare emphasis back of the importance of sleep and physical wellbeing in the workplace. If the goal is to create resilient, dynamic industry then the physical and mental health of employees should be the top of the list.
The only problem of course, will be getting employers on board. Safe Work Australia’s proposals have already been rubbished by industry chiefs who question the time and difficulty involved in implementing the code of practice.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson has warned it would require employers to “delve into the personal lives of staff”.
While Australian Industry Group representative Mark Goodsell said it would be impossible to prove if worker fatigue was a result of a second job. “People can lie to you and say they weren’t doing anything on the weekend to make them tired,” he said.
Both comments speak volumes about the need for greater trust and better lines of communication when it comes to working conditions in this country.
Planning ahead and being realistic about time pressures, sleep and family commitments should not be seen as such a crazy idea. Ditto talking to your employees about the best way to manage the unique pressures of the modern working environment.
For other ways to stay awake, follow me on Twitter: @lucyjk
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