We all know that if we have a bad night’s sleep, the next day we will not be firing on all cylinders.
We are often more irritable, find it hard to concentrate or don’t perform as well as usual – and the longer our sleep is disrupted the worse these impacts get.
These individual symptoms can directly impact on productivity, poor customer service both internally and externally and increased risk of accidents in the workplace.
Because of this, more and more businesses (in England and globally) are taking an interest in the specific impact of sleep deprivation or disruption on the health and wellbeing of their employees and the implications for productivity and competitiveness.
This is supported by reports such as that by Rand Europe using data from 62,000 people in five major economies which concluded that the economic cost of tired employees (being less productive or absent from work altogether) amounted to almost two per cent of GDP.
Sleep is a natural requirement- we need it to recharge, repair and restock. Although we can cope with sleep loss for a couple of days, eventually our bodies will be unable to cope with carrying on without the essential recovery time.
When we think of sleep deprivation and work, night and shift workers spring to mind, but this is not the case. For example, stress at work or worries at home can keep us awake at night, and becoming a parent is a very common reason for sleep disruption, so it makes sense for all employers to think about the broad range of causes as well as potential action to help improve sleep quality and duration.
What can Employers do?
As part of the Government’s commitment to promoting healthier workplaces they have partnered with Business in the Community to create a range of toolkits for employers, co-produced with businesses.
Public Health England has therefore provided a sleep toolkit to assist businesses in ensuring they support their staff’s health as well as their safety. The base of the toolkit is the key role of line managers and job planning to identify potential risks and support staff when required. The Toolkit discusses actions that employers can take to create a healthier and more productive workforce, helping employees to be their best and ultimately strengthening the business at its core.