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Sleepy worker yawning to show how to manage sleepy employees

How to manage sleep-deprived workers

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It’s probably no surprise that Singapore has been titled as the 3rd most sleep-deprived city in the world.

With so many Singaporeans losing sleep over work woes and the nation clocking in the second longest working hours in the world, it’s a common phenomenon to hear and see local workers complaining about how sleepy they are at work.

While I understand not all Singaporeans lose sleep due to work-related issues, it is integral bosses step in to manage these lethargic and sleep-deprived workers, even if their main purpose in doing so is to avoid a downfall in productivity levels.

Every Monday morning at 9 am, my team gathers for a friendly quiz session. In these sessions, one of my colleagues quizzes the rest of us on general topics such as identifying capital cities, which get our brain motors running and ready to tackle the week ahead.

Not only do such quizzes jerk us us out of our morning stupor, they also serve as an excellent means of team-bonding and let us all learn a few interesting facts about the world in the meantime. (I swear I did NOT know grasshoppers hear with their legs! )

In addition to such convenient and cheap exercises, bosses could also join the likes of Google and Ben & Jerry’s and let their employees sleep on the job for an allocated period of time.

If it suits your company, you could also allow your employees the option of working from home at least once a week so they get an opportunity to rest while not significantly impacting their productivity.

Changing locations of employees’ work desks sporadically might also help, especially in places with more natural light pouring into the room. This will help the employee feel more fresh and active.

But in such situations, perhaps the foremost element for bosses to consider is to avoid jumping to conclusions which doubt the loyalty and efficiency of the tired employee in question.

Understandably, sleeping on the job or while on duty is conventionally considered to be a severe form of misconduct in several fields of work, and is treated as a ground for initiating disciplinary action or immediate termination from the job.

However, it is important to consider if these employees might actually have a sleep disorder, or if their work pressures are actually too daunting for them to handle, especially if such behaviours stem from your high-potential employees. If this is the case, communicate with them and provide them with the right medical and professional tips to reduce their tiredness.

Essentially, simply identifying and agreeing that we do have a large population of sleepy workers does not help. Leaders must step in with the right attitude and willingness to help if they wish to reduce the severe implications of living in a sleep-deprived city.

Image: Shutterstock

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Akankasha Dewan

Human Resources Magazine Singapore
With a passion for the written word, and a deep interest in the wide-ranging secrets of the HR industry, Akankasha spends her time writing and conversing about the people dimension of the corporate world. She also fights criticisms against Fifty Shades of Grey by night.

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