From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
An employee who seems grouchy or unproductive may be suffering from insufficient sleep. Lack of sleep has negative consequences for the workplace, including decreased productivity and increased absenteeism, according to human resource and medical professionals.
Sleep deprivation is “frequently the root cause of decreased productivity in the workplace,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, a job-search website, told Bloomberg BNA in a March 23 email.
A recent survey by CareerBuilder found that many employees are just not getting enough sleep. The survey was conducted to find out whether workers think they’re getting enough sleep and what the consequences could be if they aren’t, Haefner said.
More workers get too little sleep than enough sleep, with 26 percent feeling they don’t get enough sleep each night, the survey showed. Only 17 percent get at least the doctor-recommended eight hours. Slightly more than half of workers (52 percent) average only five to seven hours of sleep each night, and 6 percent average less than five hours per night, according to the survey.
An occasional night without sleep makes you feel tired and irritable. After several sleepless nights, “your brain will fog, making it difficult to concentrate and make decisions,” Haefner said. “You’ll start to feel down and may fall asleep during the day. Your risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road also increase,” she said.
To counter the negative effects of sleep deprivation for both employees and the workplace, some employers offer sleep wellness programs.
The CareerBuilder survey asked detailed questions about how inadequate sleep slowed down the workers. Sixty percent said a lack of sleep has impeded their work performance and 22 percent have called in sick so they could get some extra sleep. Twenty-nine percent said it makes the day drag, 27 percent said it dampens their motivation and 25 percent said it makes them less productive.
In addition, 19 percent of workers said lack of sleep makes them forgetful, 13 percent said it makes them take longer to complete tasks and 13 percent said it makes them grouchy toward their coworkers. Twelve percent said they make mistakes when sleepy and 8 percent said it makes them resent their job.
“Deficits in decision-making and short-term memory both occur” after “even one night of poor sleep,” Catherine Stoney, program director and acting deputy branch chief at the National Institute of Health’s Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute told Bloomberg BNA March 23. Furthermore, “when you don’t have enough sleep, you have a greater perception of stress.”
Obviously, inadequate sleep is a bad influence in the workplace, but the survey indicates the workplace may be a bad influence for sleep. Sixty-five percent of workers reported they have dreamed about work at least once, and 13 percent said they frequently do. Forty-seven percent say thinking about work keeps them up at night. “Beyond that, it could be a variety of factors—pain, stress, medical illness, noises and distractions,” Haefner said.
Prolonged lack of sleep can make a person susceptible to serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, Haefner said.
Employer wellness programs could screen workers for sleep disorders and poor sleep habits and make coaches available to answer questions about sleep issues, according to Haefner.
“If you overlook sleep, you’re not really doing justice to wellness,” Sina Nader, president of SWAN Medical Group, a sleep optimization consulting firm in San Francisco, told Bloomberg BNA March 27. “That sleep component has been lacking” in many wellness programs. “The overall momentum is strongly moving” towards recognizing the importance of sleep, but “at the moment it’s largely reserved for the more elite and forward-looking organizations that have resources.”
There has been a lot of interest from the technology community, the trucking and transportation community, and the aerospace and defense community, Nader said. “The smarter organizations realize that sleep is fundamentally important to their business model and to their bottom line.”
When running a sleep wellness program, Nader’s company begins with a short computerized questionnaire. An employee who doesn’t appear to have an underlying medical condition may be directed for sleep coaching or cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches him to reframe his thoughts. For example, the employee may learn to make a list of his projects for the next day so he feels safe in transferring them out of his mind and onto paper.
Circadian 24/7 Workforce Solutions specializes in “people whose work schedules are outside the 9 to 5,” Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, the company’s chief executive officer, told Bloomberg BNA March 27. Circadian helps businesses “figure out the right staffing levels” and “the optimal schedule” so they can cover their round-the-clock personnel needs without depleting their workforce. Circadian has worked with police and fire departments, hospitals, media companies, power plants, airlines, and offshore oil rigs.
“There’s more awareness of the risks of fatigue,” Moore-Ede said. “There are more laws in place now,” as well as industry standards requiring the management of fatigue as a risk factor, he said. “This momentum has been building,” especially during the past 10 years.
The use of workplace nap rooms, where exhausted employees can grab a short nap in the workplace, “is catching on to some extent,” he said. “The issue is managing” nap rooms so they’re not “abused,” he said.
Thirty-eight percent of workers would use a “nap room” if their workplace had one.
CareerBuilder provides recruiting, employment screening and human capital management. Harris Poll conducted this survey for CareerBuilder online from mid-November to early December 2016. More than 3,600 workers across several industries participated.
To contact the reporter on this story: Gayle Cinquegrani in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris in Washington at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)