When inadequate sleep affects workplace productivity

Unhealthy sleep behaviors are common in our society. Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep is sometimes even worn as a badge of honor. According to an article published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, about one third of the adult population is impacted by sleep disorders. Along with reduced quality of life, inadequate sleep has been associated with higher risk for anxiety, depression, obesity, poor eating habits, job impairment, absenteeism, and increased utilization of healthcare, increased health care costs and disability. In the occupational setting, chronic sleep deficits can cost as much as $3,156 per employee per year.

Does your work place have shift workers or staff who regularly work overtime? Do you feel that at least some of your workers may need help and support to improve their sleep habits? Then it’s time to act before their lack of sleep kills productivity in the workplace. So what can you do?

  • Educate Employees: The first step is to educate employees about the importance of sleep and help them learn about sleep disorders. A ‘lunch and learn’ is a great place to start.

  • Provide Resources: Let employees know what resources are available to them to help them evaluate potential problems.

  • Offer Flexible Schedules: If possible, offer flexible schedules that allow employees to work hours that align with their sleep pattern.

  • Help them unplug: Encourage employees to unplug during evenings, weekends, and vacations. Make sure there is adequate resources to cover employees on vacation.

  • Focus more on shift workers: Shift workers are particularly vulnerable. Consider offering additional information and resources to these populations. Offer resources such as activity breaks to help perk employees up, support groups to discuss and learn more about sleep problems, and, if needed, 20-30 minute nap breaks.

As always, Alyfe is eager to hear about any innovative solutions your company may have implemented to solve the sleep problem. Talk to us in the comments section.