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Employee sleepless in bed, checking office email

Work keeps almost half of employees up at night

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Do you find your employees coming into the office with increasingly dark circles or yawning a lot throughout the day? It might be because they stayed up the night before thinking about work.

According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, 47% of employees say thinking about work keeps them up at night.

Polling more than 3,600 workers, the survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, found that even when employees finally manage sleep, work haunts them. More than three in five (65%) have dreamed about work at least once, with 13% saying it happens always or often.

When asked the craziest work dream they’ve had, workers said the following:

  • Tyrannosaurus rex worked at my office.
  • I showed up to work three hours late, and I was only half dressed. That was OK though, because we have a relaxed dress code. The problem was I had not realized the Queen of England was visiting, and I felt embarrassed.
  • I work with software. While I was pregnant, I had a dream that I had to upload my unborn baby at the end of every day, or she’d lose her development for the day.
  • My coworker had a baby but wrapped it in a burrito wrapper.
  • I was naked getting ready to get on a roller coaster while trying to reconcile an account I’m working on.
  • My boss and I were mowing a lawn in the clouds on a go-kart.
  • My boss adopted me and my coworkers. He got us housing and took us shopping.
  • Famous people worked with me in place of my coworkers.
  • I drove the forklift home from work.
  • I opened a “bank and brew” where customers, after doing their banking business, had a choice of craft beers and tapas.

The survey also pointed out that 26% of workers felt they do not get enough sleep each night, and 60% of all workers said that a lack of sleep has negatively impacted their work.

While eight hours may be the doctor-recommended amount of sleep time each night, only 17% say they actually reach this goal – this can negatively impact productivity, among other factors.

So how long does the average employee sleep?

Slightly more than half of workers (52%) log an average of five to seven hours of sleep each night, while 6% clock an average of less than five hours per night.

Interestingly, one in five workers (22%) have called in sick for the purpose of getting extra sleep.

Not only does sleep deprivation hurt workers, it hurts business, too. Three in five workers (60%) say lack of sleep has had an impact on their work in some way, including the following:

  • It makes the day go by slower: 29%
  • It makes me less motivated: 27%
  • It makes me less productive: 25%
  • It affects my memory: 19%
  • It takes me longer to complete tasks: 13%
  • It makes me crabby with my coworkers: 13%
  • It makes me make mistakes: 12%
  • It makes me resent my job: 8%

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder said: “Lack of sleep undermines performance and can create a vicious cycle of working more hours to compensate for diminished productivity and having less time to sleep.

The survey shed light on a possible solution employers can take – install a nap room in the office.

Nearly 2 in 5 workers (38%) revealed that they would take advantage of a designated “nap room” if offered at their place of work.

Another option is to let workers start work later. However, if you choose to take that option, do not cut your employees’ pay. Doing so would probably result in a very unhappy workforce with 94% of workers being unwilling to take a pay cut for the ability to go in two hours later.

“Employers can take steps to make sure their workers are getting enough sleep, such as by tweaking night shift schedules or imposing limits on consecutive shifts. They can also have wellness initiatives that encourage workers to go to sleep at the same time every night and create a relaxing bedroom environment,” Haefner suggested.

Photo / 123RF

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