How to Help Your Employees with Decision Fatigue


November 17, 2021

If “what do you want for dinner?” feels like a crushing decision to have to make when you get home from a busy day at work, there’s a valid reason why. Research suggests that adults make 35,000 decisions a day. If you deduct seven hours of decision-free sleep, that equates to about 2,000 decisions per hour or one decision every two seconds.

After making so many choices throughout the day, especially in a fast-paced work environment, decision fatigue can set in and make it harder for your employees to stay engaged, focused, and fulfilled. So with decision-making being a normal part of everyone’s day, what can leaders do to help decision fatigue at the office?

Understanding Employee Decision Fatigue

In a recent Pulse survey by eMindful, about 45% of respondents reported that they experience decision fatigue. When asked to identify the most challenging factor that contributes to their decision fatigue, “uncertainty” received the highest response at 28% with “options (lack of, none, too many, best)” coming in second at 16%. 

What can we learn from this data? Although the Coronavirus pandemic has been part of our lives for almost two years now, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the air. Should I get my child a COVID-19 vaccine? Should I travel and visit family this holiday season? Should I go back to the office full-time or ask to be remote a few days a week? These are just a few of the decisions with which your workforce may be grappling. And when these harder decisions are surrounded by the 30,000 other decisions we all make on a daily basis, it’s no wonder employees are struggling with the weight of all the choices.

How Leaders Can Help  

As a leader, you can’t take away the uncertainty in your employees’ lives or take on the daily decisions they need to make. You may be experiencing decision fatigue yourself as you try to make the best decisions for yourself, your  business and your workforce while navigating a global pandemic.

Here are some tips to guide you through addressing decision fatigue at the office:

  • Take and encourage mindfulness breaks to gain clarity on what’s most important
  • Provide resources to help them manage stress and engage in self-care
  • Foster a work environment that makes stress reduction and self-care a priority

With tough decisions still ahead for companies and employees as the pandemic continues, it’s okay for all the choices to feel a little heavy sometimes. Approaching decision fatigue with openness, compassion, and an emphasis on self-care can make a huge difference in how heavy those decisions feel at work for you and your workforce.