MANHATTAN, KANSAS – Whether it's checking and changing oil, regular greasing or checking bearings and bushings, agricultural producers know that a small investment of time on a regular basis can save thousands of dollars and countless hours of lost productivity by preventing mechanical malfunctions. And what's true for machinery is also true for people, according to Kansas State University animal scientist Chris Reinhardt.

"This tested and proven truism of heavy machinery is an excellent analogy for maintaining workplace relationships and morale," said Reinhardt, who is a feedlot specialist with K-State Research and Extension. "Like mechanical devices, people need fuel, people need rest and people sometimes wear out. In order to ensure that people are rested and refueled for the upcoming season, it is critical that managers monitor the well-being of the people in their charge, and perhaps even insist that people take time off."

Without rest, Reinhardt said, friction can result between team members and can result in increased sick days, or even an increase in accidents due to frustration and fatigue.

"Managing people often requires uncanny observation of people's behavior and the circumstances surrounding it. Be proactive about investigating people's attitudes, inter-relationships, stress level, energy level and their need for time off," he said.

More of Reinhardt's agriculture workforce tips are available on K-State's Department of Animal Sciences and Industry website: Click on Research and Extension, and any of the Current Extension Newsletters.

SOURCE: Kansas State University Extension