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Tiredness affecting productivity for UK businesses

An increasing number of employees have admitted to sleep deprivation due to work but not many employers are tackling the issue

09 August 2017
Kimberley Dondo

According to research by Willis Towers Watson (WTW), more than a third (36%) of workers are struggling to get a restful night’s sleep because of their job and almost two-thirds (66%) of those workers claim the lack of sleep has negatively impacted their productivity at work.

There are a plethora of reasons as to why UK workers find it difficult to get to sleep. More than half (55%) stated that a stressful day at work would be the main reason for a sleepless night, this was followed by 45% admitting to job worries, 41% declaring early starts and 35% adding late night working contributed to restless nights.

 Speaking about the new research, Mike Blake, a director at Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits, said: “The work environment is no longer confined to the office, with the stress of heavy workloads creeping into home life. “

“Whilst companies may benefit from a perceived ‘increase’ in productivity in the short-term, ongoing stress, coupled with lack of sleep, can risk having an overall negative impact on operational performance.”

The release of this research closely follows the launch of the world’s largest sleep study by scientists from the Western University in Ontario. The study hopes to gain a better understanding of the effects of sleep deprivation on brain function.

Blake adds: “And the launch of the worldwide sleep study is a clear indicator that fatigue will become a more prevalent and serious workplace issue that employers can ill afford to ignore.”

Even though 65% of employees have expressed their concern over the growing issue of tiredness in the workplace over the last five years, the research found only 17% of employers have addressed the situation by educating their employees on the effect of sleep on general wellbeing. Employee focused health and wellbeing programmes could help companies address sleep deprivation caused by work.

“Employers who become more attuned to the needs of their workers outside the office are more likely to retain a happy and healthy employee base,” Blake adds “Companies should aim to identify and tackle potential issues before they become a problem.  Open dialogue is key to establishing a positive workplace culture that addresses and mitigates stress and fatigue.”

“This will allow managers to identify dips in productivity and tackle the root causes before more serious issues arise, such as absenteeism and presenteeism.  By placing an emphasis on the importance of sufficient sleep, workers will also feel more comfortable approaching managers about fatigue and solutions can be found, such as meditative practices, review of workloads or flexible working hours.”

 

 


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