Published 25 September 2017 Category: Compass Tips, Workplace, SMEs, Entrepreneurs, Startups

4 Ways Companies Can Promote A Good Night’s Sleep

We now think of the workplace as a critical, influential place for employee health. Like diet and exercise, sleep is an essential pillar of wellness and a critical part of total health. Sleep can affect performance, social behavior, relationships, and the ability to lead and inspire others.

How can organisations influence their employees’ sleep for the better?

Here are four ways companies can bring sleep to work.

1. Promote sleep education
Many people remain dangerously under-educated about sleep. Unaware of the full impact of sleep over their mental and physical health, their relationships, performance, and safety, employees - and employers themselves - are often ill-equipped to begin taking steps to improve their sleep.

Connecting with a sleep expert can help organisations design and implement targeted sleep education programs that meet their employees’ needs. Organisational leaders are wise to be first in line to take advantage of sleep education - and to demonstrate in practice what they’ve learned. Modeling sleep-supportive behaviours is one of the most powerful ways leaders can make sleep a priority for employees.

2. Integrate sleep & health into workplace wellness programs
Many organisations are already moving toward an integrated, total health approach. This presents a rich opportunity to create a place for sleep as a key component in total health and safety for employees.

There’s a body of scientific evidence demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of treating sleep problems, in lowering health care costs, and in increasing productivity. Evidence demonstrates a significant direct financial return for organisations that invest in workplace wellness, as well as benefits like reduction in turnover, increased productivity, and better morale.

3. Use flextime to promote good sleep habits
Research indicates that flextime increases nightly sleep by nearly an hour. Flextime is an influential component to work-life balance - just as long as flextime doesn’t turn into “all the time.” Employers must take care to allow employees to take advantage of flextime in ways that best fit their lives.

4. Reduce shift work and overtime
People who work shifts are more likely to experience chronic sleep problems and the serious health and safety risks associated with them. Shift workers are often keeping schedules that are deeply at odds with their circadian rhythms, the 24-hour biological rhythms that help govern the sleep-wake cycle.

When shift work is unavoidable, employers can help reduce the risks and burden placed on shift-work employees by educating them about sleep, offering programs that target the specific challenges of shift work, and making sure that shift-work employees have enough time off between shifts to rest and avoid sleep deprivation and sleep debt.

There exists tremendous potential for employers and organisations to transform the lives and the health of their employees - and their workplace performance - while also reducing costs to their own bottom line.

Recognising sleep for what it is, not an option or a luxury, but a powerful resource and a competitive advantage, organisations that embrace sleep and commit to helping employees sleep better can expect to see both profound positive change and measurable benefit.