Sleep is probably one of the easiest things that a workplace well-being program can address to improve health and productivity. Many companies want to raise their competitiveness and increase profits through productivity and efficiency of their workforce. Instead, corporate culture has long rewarded the employee that comes in early and stays late. A tired staff is unproductive, unhappier and at higher risk for getting sick. Not getting enough sleep can affect employees and the company’s bottom line by leading to:
- Mistakes and injuries. It goes without saying that it’s hard to get work done well or at all if employees can barely keep their eyes open.
- Illness and disease. People getting less than six hours of sleep a night are five times more likely to be obese and have a 56% increase in risk for Type 2 diabetes. Neurons that control sleep interact closely with the immune system.
- Increased absenteeism and presenteeism. A recent study showed that sleeping fewer than five hours a night is associated with staying home sick for 4.6 to 8.9 more days than those people who sleep between seven and eight hours a night. Presenteeism is the effect of being physically present at work, but less or non-productive.
- Getting too little sleep can lead to job burnout. Work stress will always exist, research says it may not be the work stress causing burnout, but the lack of recovery from stress that sleep provides that is missing.
How to help staff get well-rested. There are simply not enough hours in the day to get work and personal tasks done. This constant need to do more in less time has led to the decline of adequate sleep. According to the CDC about 30 % of Americans report getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night. Measures workplaces can try to put in place may be:
- Cutting of technology at night. Workers are tethered to the office through cell phones, emails. Managers need to be understanding and have policy against after-hours work that makes it virtually impossible to have adequate rest and recovery to prepare for the next day.
- Flexible work schedules and encouraging employees to take breaks. Scheduling time to meet with the health coach to learn mindfulness techniques to refresh and re-charge.
- Practice time management and other personalized solutions to ease workloads.
- Offer a Sleep Challenge that helps employees practice good sleep routines such as turning off electronics, having a set bedtime and getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night
- Focus on sleep and rest in your ongoing communications. Messaging campaigns are key to changing thought about behaviors. Good campaigns are repetitive, concise, and relevant to individual.
A good night’s sleep seems so simple, but just a small sleep deficit can affect relationships, social skills, decisions-making, judgment and other complex thinking. To learn more about how our on-site wellness coaches can offer solutions to help employees “rest and renew” or for information about setting up a sleep focused wellness challenge contact us!