Research shows that sleep deprivation has a direct impact on employee productivity. Of course, as managers, we can’t tuck our employees in at a reasonable hour each night, but we can be learned on the topic of sleep and its importance on employee productivity and overall health.

How does Sleep Deprivation Effect Productivity?

The Symptoms

Sleep deprivation causes more problems than just a sleepy employee. Sleep deprivation has a slew of other nasty side effectives including, but not limited to:

Crankiness & Irritability – An irritable employee is likely to lash out at other employees, greatly affecting the work atmosphere. Time and money will be spent repairing strained relationships through coaching sessions and teambuilding exercises.

Inability to handle stress – Your tired employees will have less mental strength to handle large amounts of stress. Unfortunately, this is likely to happen when a big project is due and your staff have been up all night preparing for it. It’s important to stress to employees (get it?) the importance of sleep the day before an important meeting or event.

Lack of Concentration – Employees suffering from exhaustion may have a hard time focusing and making decisions which can be extremely dangerous to any business, from construction to pharmaceutical companies. Employees can hurt themselves if not concentrating on these tasks correctly. I remember when I was sleep-deprived getting home from the hospital with my little one. My husband referred to me as a “zombie.” Would you employ a zombie? No, of course not. They’re untrustworthy.

Memory Loss – Yup, your employees may not even remember a task you assigned to them. Not much more to explain here.

Reduced immunity to illness – Employees who are tired and run down will have a difficult time fighting off colds and flus. Unexpected time off from work can cause delays in important timelines and again affect the bottom line directly.

Increased likeliness of other health problems – Those who have trouble sleeping have an increased chance of health problems like weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and other heart problems. Unhealthy employees cost more and, they’re unhealthy. No business owner wants to see their employees battle any type of illness. We want what’s best for employees- for them to be happy and healthy.

What can we as a business do to promote healthy sleep habits?

Sleepless nights are bound to happen, but as employers, there are things we can do to limit the effect sleep deprived employees have on employee productivity and our bottom line.

Naptime! – Some companies have created a nap room for their employees to take a break to sleep. Although this may be a bit out of your comfort zone, it is a method you can take to promote sleep. Even if you only allow your employees to take naps during their lunch break, consider providing them with a comfortable place to go to take a quick snooze.

Company-Sponsored Wellness Programs – Research shows that exercise promotes better sleep habits, so why not offer a company-sponsored wellness program to your employees? Companies have found that offering free or discounted gym memberships and weight loss contests have improved their work culture, employee health and productivity!

Training Programs – Offering training programs that focus on time management, coping with stress and even healthy habits outside of the office can provide vital information to employees. A half-day of training is nothing compared to saving time and money with sick, unhappy and tired employees.

Promote a Work/Life Balance – Want to help your employees without spending a single penny? Create a work environment that promotes a healthy work/life balance. Be approachable so your staff can open up about what may be causing them sleepless nights. Or, allow employees to leave on time. That’s it! There are companies out there that snicker when employees leave work on time. Being flexible, approachable and accommodating is free and easy to do, and it goes a LONG way!

Willing to spend a little money?  Important projects happen and may require occasional overtime, but offer time-off immediately following the project.Thank employees after a hard day’s (or week’s or MONTH’s) work by giving them a gift card to a local restaurant to share with their family.

Sleep is important. You hired that great Sales Manager, not the zombie sitting at her desk! Follow the above tips and employees will be leaving work feeling happy and accomplished, ready for some serious shut-eye to take on the next day!