Fatigue is the state of physical and mental state of tiredness that results in diminished capacityto perform a task or function. Because it increases the likelihood of errors, quality problems and rework, employee fatigue is an often unrecognized form of waste that can impact the safety of the workplace.
Lean, if it is implemented correctly, can reduce fatigue. But often the side effects of Lean go unnoticed and untreated, and as a result Lean can actually increaseemployee fatigue.
As waste is eliminated and processes become more streamlined, more and more of the workers’ day is spent doing productive work. The time spent waiting for machines, walking to the mail room, etc. — all those mini-breaks are replaced with value-added work.
From the company’s standpoint this increase in efficiency is beneficial, but a lot of leaders miss the fact that taking away those “breathers” significantly impairs job satisfaction and employee engagement and ultimately impacts the bottom line.
It is critical to prevent overburdening team members as waste is pulled out of a process.