How to use sleep smartly in your business
Employees are an organisation’s biggest asset. Or to be more specific, productive employees are. But what makes employees productive and keeps them engaged? Humans aren’t robots who can be left alone to work 24/7. What do employees need to do if they want to be as effective as possible? The answer is to maintain good health, both physically and mentally. But what fosters these? Sleep.
Let’s dig deeper. Sleep is the foundation for physical and mental health, and emotional wellbeing. Well-rested employees are more resilient, better at decision-making and risk evaluation. They are more alert and can think more innovatively too. Compared to under-slept employees, well-slept workers are more empathetic towards others, have better interpersonal relationships, and consistently act on their moral beliefs. While an individual’s sleep experience is truly personal, it has implication for a business and society as a whole.
Knowledge is power. If businesses create a culture that values sleep and recognises its foundational role, then they become better able to create and maintain worker wellbeing and gain competitive edge. Sleep can be used as an organisational strategy to do just that – to replenish employees’ energy resources, to enable them to fully engage at work and to take effective action, day in and day out.
Leadership support and ‘sleep-friendly’ behaviours are essential for integrating sleep health into the workplace and realising such benefits. Practical promotion of employee sleep health can come through, for example, Employee Assistance Programmes.
Several interventions and policies can improve and maintain ‘sleep health’:
- Interactive sleep health education sessions
- Personalised sleep support
- Work hours and time off
- Other health-promoting behaviours including, relaxation and mindfulness
- Environmental approaches (e.g. lighting)
If you want to use sleep smartly in your business, the best immediate action to take is to get specialist advice and talk to the workforce to understand their sleep experience. This identifies where the opportunities to intervene lie, so that workers sleep well and maintain good mental and physical health. Once you have this information, you can action a plan to promote sleep and deliver the business benefits described.