Many people search far and wide and spend countless dollars every day for that one thing that will increase their performance and productivity in the workplace and give them them the upper hand over their peers.
Not only does this happen on an individual level but many companies pay big bucks to increase employee productivity and output in the most efficient way possible.
People turn to energy drinks, multiple cups of coffee, fancy apps and gadgets to get an edge on the competition.
Companies pay for specialized training, inundate their employees with email after email and place unreasonable constraints to increase performance.
Yet, according to several studies people are missing one of the biggest contributors to productivity. This includes one large study performed in 2010 that followed almost 4200 workers among 4 large corporations, and found that those with insufficient sleep had a significant decrease in productivity compared to those considered “good sleepers”.
In this particular study, those who did not sleep well also under-performed in areas of time management, output demands, physical job demands and mental-interpersonal demands when compared to their counterparts.
So, turns out the solution to increased productivity in the workplace could be… you guessed it… SLEEP!
Insufficient sleep will also make you react slower, make it more difficult for you to focus and impair your decision-making.
In fact, another study published in Sleep journal in 2016 that restricted participants to 5 hours of sleep a night for 7 nights found that those who had been sleep restricted “demonstrated incremental deterioration in sustained attention, working memory and executive function, increase in subjective sleepiness, and decrease in positive mood. Subjective sleepiness and sustained attention did not return to baseline levels even after 2 recovery nights. In contrast, the control group maintained baseline levels of cognitive performance, subjective sleepiness, and mood throughout the study”
If these studies don’t motivate you to get more zzzz’s, maybe this one published by the Associated Professional Sleep Societies will do the trick.
This study was based on 7,000 employees and estimated that companies lost an average of $2,280 per employee due to poor productivity associated with poor sleep.
So why don’t people and companies focus more on improving sleep rather than all these other things that either turn out to be detrimental in the long run, a waste of money or just down right ineffective?
Well, probably because most people just don’t know about the true power and benefits of sleep.
And that’s where I come in!
Below you will find tips on how to improve employee sleep and increase productivity and competitive edge in the workplace.
Tip #1 EDUCATE!
This is the most important tip. In order for people to understand the importance of sleep and how beneficial it is in the workplace, it’s important that they first be educated on the topic.
I recommend regular staff meetings and trainings that focus on the importance of sleep and conveying to employees and workers how seriously the company takes their sleep and overall well-being.
Also educate employees on proper sleep hygiene and give them practical tips to improve their sleep.
This will help employees buy-in to the idea of the importance of sleep and be more invested in improving their own sleep habits.
It will take education to reframe that “work more, sleep less” attitude that is so prevalent in today’s work culture.
Tip #2: Eliminate Unnecessary Work After Hours
Things like late night work emails and phone calls are major culprits that prevent workers from getting the recommended amount of sleep.
And although it may seem that your increasing productivity by allowing employees to do work after hours, you are actually cutting down on overall productivity during the prime work hours due to interference with sleep.
Not only does staying up late to answer said emails and phone calls interfere with going to sleep on time, but working late into the night interferes with the mind’s ability to quiet itself and drift into a peaceful night’s sleep.
Showing employees that you value their work-life balance and well being will in turn motivate them to be more productive during their actual work hours.
Tip #3: Optimize the Workspace
You can promote wakefulness and productivity during the day by providing a lot of natural light to work as a natural stimulant.
At the same time, you can help fight against that midday slump in productivity by providing nap spaces for employees to take advantage of the power nap and get the boost in energy and mental capacity they need to remain productive until it’s time to clock out.
Check out my post The Art of the Power Nap for more tips on how optimize and perfect the power nap to reap all of the many benefits.
Tip #4: Incentivize!
Show employees that you mean business when it comes to their sleep habits by offering incentives to those who meet their sleep goals.
Take it from Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini who started a health initiative for his employees to encourage them to get more sleep.
He reportedly will pay his employees $25 a night if they can show they have gotten 7hrs of sleep a night for 20 nights in a row with a payout of up to $500!
I’m sure that will motivate his employees to catch more zzzs and in turn earn him more $$$ with the increase in productivity that he can expect from those employees.
Tip #5: Encourage Those With Potential Sleep Disorders to Get Help
Good sleep hygiene only goes so far when it comes to sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. These disorders can lead to serious issues with sleep and other downstream adverse health outcomes such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Employees should be educated on the signs and symptoms of these disorders and then encouraged to get help if they feel that they are experiencing any of these disorders.
You should also put systems into place to facilitate those experiencing these sleep issues to get the health care and help they need.
So there you have it!
The productivity silver bullet AKA sleep!
Now go forth and be productive! If you have any other tips to improve employee sleep and increase efficiency and productivity, feel free to leave it in the comments below!
And as usual, happy sleeping!