Quality sleep is vital to personal health and well-being, and it also has a crucial role to play in the business world. The effects of sleep on job performance and workplace productivity mean that a workforce with poor sleep health can damage business profitability.
Work-related stress and sleep issues
The rise of the 24/7 work culture, driven by technology and globalisation, has brought about a trend that promotes constant availability, impacting work-life balance and contributing to work-related stress. This “always-on” mentality can cause or exacerbate sleep issues and heighten the risk of burnout.
It’s not just the number of hours but also the quality of sleep that matters for optimal work performance. Disorders that affect sleep quality, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, are increasingly common in modern society.
The cost of poor sleep
The US Centers for Disease Control has reported that sleep deprivation costs the American economy 1.2 million working days and over $400 billion each year. Poor sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, reduced alertness, slow reaction times, and decreased creativity in the workplace. It also impacts physical health, contributing to conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, which increases absenteeism and escalates healthcare costs for employers.
Sleep health is a critical factor in business leadership. Sleep deprivation impacts cognitive functions, including decision-making, problem-solving, and memory, which are vital workplace skills for managers. Poor business decisions can ultimately affect an organisation’s bottom line.
Solutions for employers and employees
Tackling sleep issues can be a practical cost-saving strategy for businesses. Employers can take measures to promote quality of sleep within their workforce through initiatives like flexible scheduling, offering mental health support, and implementing corporate wellness programs. Additionally, companies can educate employees about sleep hygiene and encourage them to prioritise self-care to improve their sleep quality.
While technology is an enabler of the 24/7 work culture, it can also offer solutions to support rather than hinder sleep when used wisely.
Employees can consciously redefine their relationship with their electronic devices to use tools like sleep-tracking apps and digital well-being features.
Balancing work and sleep for success
A well-rested workforce is more than a matter of employee welfare; it is also a strategic business asset. Employers need to instigate the shift to a workplace culture that values sleep as a tool for individual and business success. Finding the right balance between work and sleep will be vital to achieving long-term productivity in the modern workplace.