Why Sleep Should be a Wellbeing Focus in Your Organisation
How do you sleep?
The beginning of the New Year often heralds the start of a new fitness regime, losing weight, keeping fit or trying something new. But the biggest issue affecting a lot of us needing urgent attention is sleep. Recent surveys have shown sleep is something we often neglect resulting in a negative impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
More employers are reporting an increase in stress related absences. Work related stress anxiety or depression accounted for half of all working days lost due to ill health. More than 15.4 million working days were lost in 2017/2018, up from 12.5 million the year before. The lines between work and personal life are becoming increasingly blurred in a hyperconnected world where we have 24/7 access to emails and social media. Long working hours culture, pressure to instantly respond to emails and long commutes is having an impact on our quality of sleep. It is estimated that lost sleep costs the UK economy about £30 billion each year.
Working long hours or pulling an ‘all nighter’ is still regarded in some companies as a badge of honour. But research shows it is affecting our judgement and ability to solve problems or make decisions. McKinsey shows a strong link between quality of sleep and effective leadership.
Prioritising our physical and mental health, learning to switch off from our electronic devices and improving our quality of sleep benefits everyone in terms of productivity, reducing sickness absence and employee wellbeing.
Encouragingly, employers and organisations are becoming more aware of the impact lack of sleep has on employee wellbeing, mental health an productivity with some taking measures to address this:
- Introducing an organisation wide no work email policy after normal working hours.
- Encouraging staff to take an earlier flight/ train when travelling on business to avoid fatigue.
- Providing areas for relaxation/ quiet space where staff can switch off including relaxation or nap pods.
- Provide training to line managers to be able to recognise the signs of sleep deprivation.
Introducing such measures into the workplace and policies should help support employees to sleep better and be able to perform to their full potential.