Sleeping At Work

In days gone by, when our economy was dominated by agriculture and manufacturing; an employee’s value was gauged by their inputs. If they slacked off by not placing a bumper on a car fast enough they were unproductive, and if they slept on the job they stealing time from their employers and could fire.

Thirty-five percent of the population gets less than seven hours of sleep per night. Between 1985 and 2012 the percentage of adults in the U.S. who sleep less than six hours a night increased by over 30 %. And, compared to 60 years ago, today people get one and a half to two hours less sleep every night. The ensuing sleepiness results in potential dangers both on and off the job. For example, about one in 25 drivers report having fallen asleep at the wheel in the last 30 days.

Reduction in sleep duration

Research shows that 84 % of employees report having to available after hours at least some of the time. This essentially puts employees “on call.” And guess what happens when people are on call? They don’t sleep as well. So not only do societal trends reveal an overall reduction in sleep duration, technological trends that blur the boundary between work and home are intensifying our inability to get adequate sleep. This is tragic because work tires us out and sleep is one of the most important recovery mechanisms that exist.

To combat the epidemic of sleepiness, they should allow the blurring of the line between work and home to go both ways. If employees are going to be required to be available after hours, they should also allow sleeping on the job. If employers are going to interfere with employees’ leisure time and their ability to recover from their daily job demands, organizations should then provide opportunities for the needed recovery to occur at work.

Implement napping policies

There is a strong business case for this. Naps as short as 10 to 30 minutes can increase alertness, reduce fatigue and improve performance. Not only that, but recent research suggests that napping may as effective as drugs at reducing blood pressure, so organizations that implement napping policies may save on health-care costs.
It is a holdover from the days when an employee’s value depended solely on his or her manual inputs. In the modern economy, however, your value as an employee, manager or executive often rests on your ability to produce desirable outputs. Progressive organizations recognize that fatigued employees cannot perform at their best. In essence, a tired employee is stealing performance from their employer. In the modern economy; if you are tired and not sleeping on the job, you should be fired.