After losing an hour of sleep each night for a week, the average person ends up with the cognitive abilities of someone sitting at twice the legal alcohol limit. In addition to functioning in a drunk-like state at work, sleepy employees also put themselves at a high risk of ongoing health problems, including diabetes, obesity and depression. When you combine these factors with decreased productivity, and an increased risk of on-site accidents, sleep deprivation becomes a real issue within the workplace.
Productivity and lost sleep
Research consistently shows that lack of sleep lowers productivity in employees and costs businesses millions in lost labour.
There is the reason Henry Ford, the ultimate productivity advocate, championed the five-day, 40-hour working week. He wanted his workers to be more productive at work, and he understood that to get the most out of his employees, they would need downtime outside of work. As a result, Ford’s profit margins doubled in the two years after he reduced employee hours (and effectively doubled their pay as a result).
Today, when technology makes employees accessible at any time of the day, it is important to remember what Henry Ford knew: happy, healthy workers are more productive workers.
Corporate wellness programs should include sleep
So if 30% of your workforce is losing sleep, and the productivity risks to your business are increased as a result, what can you do?
Firstly, recognising that sleep is just as important as the big three – mental health, nutrition and exercise – to employee wellbeing. Many forward-thinking companies are integrating sleep management programs into their over-all corporate wellness program. And don’t underestimate the power-nap. Even a 10 to 20-minute nap can boost alertness, setting sleepy-heads up for the rest of the day.
Whether it’s bringing in sleep consultants and providing online sleep programs for staff, or establishing ‘nap rooms’ in the office, these companies prioritise ways to increase staff shut-eye and employee productivity as a result.