The impact a bad night’s sleep can have on your day is significant. Aside from the many health risks that come with consistently bad sleep, your memory, concentration, and creativity are all negatively affected if you don’t get enough shut-eye.
Given that these are things are imperative to good performance at work, what does bad sleep mean for employee productivity? New research has sought to find the answer, surveying 2,000 workers on their sleeping habits and their well-being at work.
Good sleep equals happy workers
Those surveyed were asked to rate their sleep on a scale of one to ten (one being very poor and 10 very good). Respondents were then asked a series of questions on their current outlook at work.
Positivity and motivation
A central link between good sleep and general wellbeing was discovered in the survey findings. Firstly, those who sleep better are more likely to hop out of bed in a positive mood. Of all the people who say they wake up in a positive mood, 49% rated their sleep between eight and ten. In contrast, just 3% rated their sleep between one and three.
To confirm the link, the likelihood of a bad morning also increases if you’re quality of sleep is poor. Of those who said they feel negative when they wake, a third (33%) rated their sleep at three or below.
You can also expect more office motivation after a good night’s sleep. Respondents were asked to rate their motivation at work between one and ten (where one is very poor and ten is very good). Of everyone who rated their motivation at work above eight, almost half (49%) also rated their sleep within the same range.
Shift to those who rate their sleep between one and three and only 3% were motivated above seven.
Combine that positive attitude and motivation when you hit the office, and you get a happier employee. The study also found a positive correlation between good sleep and career contentedness.
When we took all the respondents who said they are happy in their career, 40% were those who rated their sleep between eight and ten, and just 9% were those in the one to three bracket.
Why your employees can’t sleep
The survey also covered habits, cross-referencing data on sleep quality with a number of common elements of the evening routine to see which were damaging sleep.
Almost half of all respondents (49%) who said they watch Netflix or TV before bed are not getting the minimum recommended seven hours of sleep per night. More than one in five (22%) get five hours or less.
Smartphones and tablets delivered a similar trend. 48% of those who use them before bed are getting less than seven hours sleep a night, with almost a quarter (24%) getting five hours or less.
Smartphones and similar devices like laptops and tablets are of particular concern for the business-owner. Depending on how your employees are using these devices, it could be their working environment that’s pushing them towards bad bedtime habits (and therefore bad sleep).
Using smartphones to check emails or complete last minute work assignments can be especially dangerous. Electronic devices with backlit displays emit blue light, and this can suppress the release of melatonin — an important sleep hormone that helps regulate our sleep/wake cycle. Not only that but completing tasks keeps our brains active, making it harder for us to drop off to sleep.
Helping your employees get some sleep
You might think the workplace is unable to effect positive change, but there are some steps you can take to help employees get a good night’s rest. Here are five ideas to get you started:
Set after hours boundaries
For most employees, accessing work is as easy as pulling our phones out of our pockets. Great when you need to quickly send off an email when on the road, but bad if it blurs the lines between work time and social time.
Help employees to switch off and destress by encouraging them to leave laptops, smartphones and other work devices in the office. Provide a directive to managers that they shouldn’t be sending emails or other work-related communications to employees after office hours. You could even go as far as France and provide an outright ban on out of office hour emails, as their ‘right to disconnect’ law states.
Let there be light
Experts say that exposure to natural light during the day can help with better sleep at night. Often, teams might prefer to draw the blinds and rely on unnatural light during the day, particularly if there is glaring sunlight at certain times.
Try to discourage teams from drawing the blinds, keeping that sunshine coming in throughout the day. You could even organize some outdoor lunches (weather permitting) to get people out in front of the sun for an hour each afternoon.
Build a company culture that helps
In the search for results, business decision makers can think that molding a company culture that promotes long, tiresome hours is the way forward. If you reward employees for pulling an all-nighter or offer favoritism to those with a never switch off attitude, it could encourage others to priortize work when they should be enjoying their free time.
Working longer hours is associated with poorer mental health and sleep disturbances, making your employees less productive during actual working hours. As a company, create a healthy culture that promotes good work, not overwork.
As an extension of the point above, let your staff take an annual vacation! It might seem counter-intuitive to think you’ll get more out of your workforce if they aren’t in the office, but time away from the stresses of work will really help to boost productivity when they return.