The amount of workers reporting to work with little or no sleep has become so commonplace that this it is practically considered normal nowadays. In 2016, Harvard Business Review cited a survey which revealed that less than half of the people that took part in the study (45%) felt they slept well. The rest said that they experienced difficulty falling asleep, with 10% stating that they suffered from insomnia. Meanwhile, research published on the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine discovered that between $2,500 and $3,156 is lost every year on per employee due to their sleep problems which leads to a decline in productivity.
Safety + Health suggests that a lack of concern about sleep deprivation is due to the mindset that sleep is not a priority compared to other things. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous mindset to have. The article cites how a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on a person’s motor skills and reaction time. This is particularly dangerous for those who are working with heavy equipment, because their slower reflexes can prevent them from responding quickly in avoiding accidents, which can lead to worrying situations for employers and employees alike.
Furthermore, their lack of sleep can also lead to inconsistent performances at work, and it can even prevent them from executing their responsibilities effectively. A study on NCBI focusing on sleep revealed that an insufficient amount can lead to a loss in productivity equivalent to 11.3 working days per year, which means monetary losses for the employers too. The research suggests that this can easily translate to a loss of $63.2 billion annually for the US workforce.
Beyond work performance, a lack of sleep can also have detrimental effects on a person’s health. Hult Research lists some of the negative consequences of working while sleep deprived. Among them are increased stress and anxiety, higher levels of irritability, low energy, and poor emotional wellbeing. In fact, Leesa cites a study in their post "Slanger Management" that claims people are more likely to have negative thoughts and emotions when they are sleep deprived, aside from impacting their ability to retain information. In the worst-case scenario, fatigue caused by stress and a lack of sleep can also lead to cardiovascular problems.
The impact of stress on workers has led Entrepreneur to call out employers to re-evaluate the working conditions within their respective companies to promote restfulness for employees as a way of looking after their wellbeing, not to mention improving their level of performance. For starters, it recommended that employees be given a reasonable work schedule. The growth in several industries has led companies to veer away from the eight-hour workday schedule, and some have even taken to making their staff work on weekends. Both situations have increased the level of stress for workers, which in turn has had a negative impact on employees causing them undue levels of stress as a byproduct. By regulating the number of work hours to a reasonable amount, there is a higher chance that employees will be able to get more sleep and rest. It also suggested giving employees paid time off from work so they can have more time recuperating from the stresses of work is advisable to help create a healthy work-life balance.
For more information about how to improve office productivity, read our previous article on Performetric titled 'Increase Productivity And… By the Way Reduce Stress as Well'.