Sleeping on the job is now acceptable behaviour

sleeping under a convertible deskRecently, Cornerstone OnDemand tested which learning and training courses are of most interest and truly matter to employees to help them navigate the world of work. Among the top five most popular courses, there was a resounding demand for those that centred around wellbeing. And the training that claimed the top spot was ‘The Science of Sleep: Sleep hygiene’.

That’s not to say that your employees are just daydreaming about when they can climb back into their bed but rather, they’re recognising the role and affect that a good night sleeping has on their work and professional lives – not just their own, but others as well. Afterall, for anyone who has tried to struggle through the day on a few hours sleep, fuelled by caffeine alone, it’s not productive and certainly doesn’t aid happiness in the long-term.

If you are not quite familiar with the term sleep hygiene, this simply refers to the specific practices or little calming habits that you do before bedtime to help you sleep better. In a similar way, behaviours and what you do in the workplace can also have a major impact – determining whether you have a good or bad night’s sleep. So here are some simple ways you can help.


Let employees take ten

While employees are clearly keen to catch up on and improve their sleeping habits, they also need a helping hand to do this. That’s where you as an employer can step in.

This may be through offering official training courses so that your employees can learn top tips for creating good habits. Or it may be helping them to relax or get some exercise for a better night’s rest, providing lunch time exercise classes, yoga classes or leading a meditation session. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to that, just ensuring that your employees are able to take that full lunch break to head to the gym, go for a run or just a walk outside also helps.

It also shouldn’t only be at lunchtime that employees have a moment to relax but they should also be able to take regular, short breaks throughout the day, even when the office is hectic. Taking ten minutes to be calm, reflect, step away from their computer, not only lowers stress levels but it will also help productivity – rejuvenating concentration and helping to see work problems from a new perspective.


Spot warning signs

Sometimes, though, despite all good intentions, many will still struggle with workplace fatigue. Employees may even think they’re getting plenty of sleep, but quality of sleep is also important. So, keep an eye out.

Some employees may be quite vocal about the fact that they’re always tired but for those who are less open, there are some signs you should watch out for. Is the previously super enthusiastic employee now subdued, distant, acting out of character and often late to work? Or have an employee’s productivity levels hit an all-time low? Even a normally neat and now messy desk and fidgeting can all be symptoms of work-related fatigue.

These could all also potentially be related to other issues, so most important of all, talk to your employees to find out the source of the problem and how you can help.


Predict and prevent problems

When big, important project deadlines are looming and there aren’t enough staff members, it sometimes can’t be avoided that employees will have to put in extra hours. Make sure that you’re aware and take this into consideration. Of course, it’s great to have super committed employees but it’s also your role to make sure they don’t take it too far.

This is where management needs to lead by example. Not working all hours of the day, taking that time to have a moment to relax, continuing to follow those good habits and behaviours and as a result, encouraging employees to keep up their sleep hygiene.

Be flexible as well. Life is still happening, employees cannot put that on hold for an important deadline, so you need to let your employees flex to fit it in. As long as they are putting in those necessary additional hours and completing the work, let employees do it when works for them, allowing them to head off to pick up their children or go to that appointment. Whilst you cannot fully catch up on lost sleep, having this freedom, will ensure employees aren’t also stressing about things outside of work and allows some time to recoup. All aiding better-quality sleep.

While these are just some of the ways that you can help your staff to snooze soundly, it goes to show that even small changes and adjustments can make a big difference. Sleep well.

Main image: StudioNL