The Dropped Ball Series: Fatigue, the Death of Process

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FatigueLooking past outcomes to process all the time is taxing! It requires constant attention-to-detail as well as fighting natural inclinations and tendencies.


Fatigue is inevitable. As it creeps in, attention wanes and performance drops. At best, people achieve only a fraction of their productivity potential. At worst, they can create new problems and more work for their organization. Individuals can take steps to fight their own depletion. But sometimes it takes a leader's touch to refresh their staff.


The Ratio

Through trial and error, I have arrived at a 19 to 1 ratio: for every 19 hours of high-intensity work, people need an hour of structured decompression.



Structured decompression is endorsed, facilitated, or even led by the leaders of an organization. It is highly reactive: the style of structured decompression must conform to levels of fatigue.


This requires leaders to always be aware of the state of their workforce. L M Thomas Group encourages leaders to regularly practice and develop their active listening and body language skills to bolster this awareness.


Unproductive Structured Decompression

High levels of fatigue can warrant a hard break from routine. This form of structured decompression is most necessary in jobs that are high stress, physically taxing, or involving extreme attention-to-detail with processes. Certain types of people need hard rest as well. Productive, active structured decompression may not beat back fatigue for people who are highly detail-oriented and tend to get imbedded in their work.


Unproductive structured decompression can take two forms. When fatigue is less severe, organizing a social hour in the workplace can be enough rest to hit the reset button on fatigue. At its most severe, sending a fatigued employee home an hour early without consequence can have a tremendous positive impact on their productivity.


Productive Structured Decompression

A loss of two hours per week per person is an unattractive proposition to employers. But if the 19 to 1 Rule is followed and fatigue is well-managed by leadership, decompression time can be put towards productive use.


Structured decompression is a fancy way of saying ‘break from routine.’ I have seen leaders pull this off within the context of their organization’s normal operations. One manager went as far as having their employees swap to a different role in their organization for two hours a week.


L M Thomas Group helps businesses implement dynamic skill development programming; to expand the capacity of their employees while breaking them out of their day-to-day routine.


We have pioneered Game-Based Learning for professional development because it produces more robust skills versus traditional training methods and its unpredictable nature makes it a perfect tool to combat fatigue while enhancing an organizations capacity.


If you would like to explore productive solutions to fatigue in your workplace, we would love to Get to Know You to better understand the challenges your organization faces!

Joseph Rasmus

Joseph Rasmus is a Project Consultant with the L M Thomas Group.

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[email protected]

LM favicon 96x96

[email protected]