Tired Worker

Getting Your Young Worker Back on Track after the Holidays

If you’re like a lot of parents, you may be breathing a sigh of relief that your young worker is back in school and done with the holidays.

While they may have continued working through the break, it’s also possible they had ample time to stay up late, sleep in later and take advantage of not having school responsibilities.

Now here they are. Back to full school schedules, work responsibilities and trying to get their body clocks back to getting up early for the first time in weeks. This is something that doesn’t happen overnight and the switchover can be painful. And dangerous.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, fatigue, including fatigue caused by lack of sleep, can cause reduced decision making ability, reduced reaction time, increased tendency for risk-taking, errors of judgement and other factors that result in increased incident rates.

What this all means is that the young worker in your care who is not getting enough rest has a higher chance of being involved in a workplace incident and potential harm to themselves and those around them.

As an adult influencer, there is much that you can do to prevent incident occurrences.

The first step is to ask the right questions and to listen. And listen closely.

Ask your young worker how they feel about getting back to balancing school and work responsibilities. Are they feeling especially tired? Are there people they work with whose performance appears to be affected by their fatigue? Are there job functions that may be suffering because they feel tired on the job?

Then have a discussion on how they may be able to get their sleep schedules back on track. This could include a game plan to shut down their computers earlier so they can get to a place where they are ready for sleep earlier. At this point it’s common knowledge that over-stimulation can have an adverse effect on getting to a place where we are able to fall asleep and computer games and social media interaction are prime culprits.

Hopefully they will see the logic in tapering off stimulation and it being a key factor in getting them to a place where they can enjoy adequate, restful sleep.

At the same time, it is important as adult influencers to understand that this may not happen overnight. It’s worthwhile negotiating a weaning process in which they get to a more acceptable ‘lights out’ regimen over a period of time. The last thing we need is for them to be lying in bed staring at the ceiling feeling resentment. A realistic period should hopefully happen over a week and lead to them falling asleep earlier.

This process will lead to a greater sense of mutual respect given the acknowledgement of their voice in the process. Ultimately this will result in an end goal of more sleep followed by heightened awareness and a sharper, safer mindset as they approach every shift at their workplaces.

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