Companies are steadily looking for ways to increase their company culture, engagement, productivity, and bottom line. In simpler terms, companies are steadily looking for options that will give them a competitive edge over the competition.
While the majority of companies will look into various surface level tactics to hopefully achieve this goal, the solution is much simpler. Improving the company as a whole along with operating with an edge over the competition starts with making sleep a priority in the workplace.
When I posed the question: "why should all companies make sleep a priority" to Arianna Huffington (New York Times Bestselling author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time), she shared a myriad of reasons for why companies need to prioritize sleep before anything else:
"There are many reasons why all companies should make sleep a priority, but the overall reason is that, as many studies have shown, there's a direct connection between the health and well-being of employees and the long-term health of a company's bottom line. And sleep is the underpinning of every aspect of our physical and mental well-being. Sleep impacts decision-making, memory, creativity, focus, attention, energy, empathy and our ability to react calmly to challenging situations. If your company cares about enhancing any or all of those qualities in employees, making sleep a top priority is the way to do it. It's a proven way for companies to invest in their most important resource, their human capital."
Companies doing little-to-nothing regarding employees fatigue is greatly affecting their bottom line and culture.
According to the National Safety Council, fatigue is estimated to cost employers around $136 billion a year in health-related lost productivity. On a micro level, for every 1,000 workers, a company is expected to lose approximately $1.4 million dollars each year due to fatigue according to a fatigue cost calculator released in 2017 through the Brigham and Women's Hospital Sleep Matters Initiative and the National Safety Council.
Attempting to merely power through fatigue isn't going to cut it. When it comes to addressing workplace fatigue, here are three solutions to implement.
1. Inquire and assess the workforce.
Whether you're starting a new business, a new fitness plan, or introducing a new product, step one always requires research. When it comes to your workforce, this is simply discovering and learning what the common chock holds are that prevent employees from effectively recharging.
No need to get fancy here, simply send out validated and effective questionnaires that will help you develop a hypothesis to the situation.
After you collect the surveys, you now have a clearer picture of the workforce situation which you can address in a more precise and cost-effective manner.
2. Implement a variety of educational options.
This strategy can be executed through a multitude of options. One of the more popular options is face-to-face training where an expert comes in to train your workforce on improving their sleep hygiene, stress, and other lifestyle factors. Some companies go a step further and actually have experts coach their staff on a more personal level with their specific issues.
However, in today's work culture, companies have remote workers, satellite offices, and this inherently leaves a portion of the workforce without the training.
To get around this, an effective strategy is to look into online education that can be accessed wherever your employees might be. This material is available to all current staff, but it's also ready for all incoming talent which is a useful way to get the right culture going from the start.
3. Create sleep-friendly policies.
A large percentage of wellness initiatives falter due to upper management not providing a model to follow nor infusing the new initiatives into the company DNA.
Establishing sleep-friendly policies and accords creates cohesion and sends a signal to the workforce that their well being is truly valued beyond a monetary aspect which inherently improves employee engagement and retainment of top talent.
Without overly complicating matters, an easy way to create a sleep-friendly culture is to accommodate the night owls. Due to different chronotypes, some people are wired to fall asleep later in the night and wake up later. Forcing night owls for an early start time is putting them and your company at a disadvantage.
Not only are they in a sleep debt due to not getting sufficient sleep, but their performance suffers as well which affects the company as a whole.
To keep company productivity and cohesion a well-oiled machine, allow flexible start times but designate the middle of the day for when the entire team needs to be present.