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Employee Fatigue: It’s Hardly the Biggest Workplace Problem We Face


Safety professionals do a fine job of determining the “root causes” or “contributing factors” of incidents in order to prevent the next accident. Executives might apply this analysis to employee performance issues.

Out of necessity, employers often analyze performance and attitude problems from the standpoint of ensuring that a termination is legally defensible. Let’s shift our focus and try to determine the contributing factors to employee performance or judgment issues, and start with an often-overlooked contributing factor — employee fatigue.

Dr. Christopher M. Barnes posted a provocatively titled post, Sleep-Deprived People Are More Likely to Cheat on the HBR Blog Network last May. Barnes approached “bad behavior” from a physiological standpoint and explained that: