As sleep products professionals, we all know the importance of a good night’s rest. Now, the word on sleep deprivation is getting out to business audiences.
Vicki Culpin, professor of organizational behavior at Hult International Business School, located in London and six other campuses, researched the effects of lack of sleep in a business setting.
Based on a survey of 1,000 professionals predominantly in the United Kingdom, the report, “The Wake-up Call: The Importance of Sleep in Organizational Life,” explores the impact sleep has on managers in how they perform at work, as well as its effects on physical, social and emotional health.
In general, the managers averaged six hours and 28 minutes of sleep, less than the recommended minimum of seven hours, Culpin says.
Survey respondents said a lack of sleep affects their motivation to learn (60%), generate new ideas (60%) and understand new concepts quickly (52%). Additionally, poor sleep also hinders their ability to manage competing demands (44%), to stay focused in meetings (45%) and to remain focused on daily activities (43%).
“Traditionally, organizations that seek to enhance their effectiveness have focused on developing their leadership capabilities, strategically managing the talent within their organization, increasing employee engagement and motivation and streamlining their operations,” the report notes. “We argue that having a workforce that participates in working life fully is of paramount importance, and that organizations which are willing to engage with and address the issue of poor sleep within an organizational context will be at a competitive advantage.”
In a Sept. 29 article on PublicFinanceInternational.org, Culpin shared a few tips to help companies address insufficient sleep. Some of those strategies include:
- Put sleep on the agenda. Talk about how it can affect people and share information about the causes of poor sleep.
- Look at overall lifestyle. Promote healthy lifestyles and encourage staff to use annual leave and take breaks during the day.
- Be a role model. Talk about your own sleep struggles and how you have taken steps to get better sleep.
- Leave space before major meetings. If you’re going to make important decisions in a meeting, make sure you give people time to prepare and come to the meeting fresh. Back-to-back meetings are exhausting.
- Plan rest around journeys. Employees are not at their best after a long flight or multihour car trip. Encourage people to leave early enough so they can rest after arriving at their destination. They also should have time to rest upon their return.