Should You Care About Your Employees Zzz’s?

Are you starting to notice missed deadlines, testy behaviour, and eyes getting heavy during meetings? These are a few signs that your employees aren’t getting the sleep that they need.


As an employer, do you ever stop to think about whether or not your employees are getting a good night sleep? Do you ever consider how these off the clock hours could impact your business? Well, it might be time for you to start.

Lack of sleep, both duration and quality, is more prevalent than ever before. In Canada, 1 in 3 adults are not getting the sleep recommended to reach optimal mental and physical health, and the effects are starting to show.

Sleep deprivation is associated with cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, irritability and reduced well being- not to mention an increased risk of workplace accidents and injury. Research suggests that insufficient sleep increases an employee’s risk of work-related injury by 162%. For employees in safety-sensitive positions this is a serious concern.

In the workplace, a lack of focus or feeling ‘fuzzy-headed’ is often to blame for our mistakes. In a few worst cases such mistakes have caused companies millions. Other side effects we’ve seen include higher rates of absenteeism, loss of morale, employee burnout, and lost productivity.


So how can you promote better sleep habits?


You might think that getting enough sleep should be the responsibility of your employees. Well in reality, as an employer, you have a significant role to play.


1. Sleep Friendly Schedules

Do your employees work swing shifts or transition from days to nights? If so, make sure any schedule changes are gradual to avoid disruptions to their sleep. Remember that employees have obligations outside of work, so whenever possible work with them to create a schedule that best fits their lifestyle.

2. On the Job Naps

Although sleeping on the job is often seen as taboo, many companies are starting to recognize the importance of a mid-day snooze. Google, Uber, and Ben & Jerry’s are encouraging napping in the workplace by offering employees with dedicated nap rooms and sleep pods.

Now, we get that not every company has the ability to install sleeping pods. Alternatively, we suggest dedicating an unused office equipped with a few pillows and a comfy chair as space where employees can get those extra zzz’s.

3. Set Healthy Limits

Lead by example and set limits on work hours and response times so that employees maintain a healthy work/life balance. Remind management to unplug at the end of the day and avoid sending those urgent emails after hours. If necessary, compose your message and save it as a draft, then send it first thing in the morning.

4. Encourage Wellness

Start to address underlying sleep issues by encouraging regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and a healthy mind. Check out these 8 easy initiatives to get you started and be sure to stay tuned for more Wellness Wednesdays on our blog for additional tips and tricks.


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