Well-rested workers make safe workers. Unfortunately, Daylight Saving Time and a change in season often wreak havoc on your employees’ sleep patterns. The truth is, sleep deprivation is a problem in America every night. In the U.S., three in 10 working adults sleep six hours or less in a 24-hour period.
Exhaustion can spark problems on the job, such as difficulty concentrating, attention lapses and decreased performance, which can lead to accidents.
Thirteen percent of all workplace incidents resulting in injury are tied to fatigue, according to the National Safety Council. Another study found fatigue-related productivity losses cost almost $2,000 per worker per year.
If your employees are dragging, can you do anything to get them back on track? Yes — try these six tips to encourage healthy sleep patterns and make your workplace safer:
- Identify signs of fatigue: Have managers watch for recurring “micro-sleeps,” when people nod off as they work, and higher-than-usual consumption of caffeinated beverages, such as energy drinks. Talk to the employee about their sleep schedule to pinpoint the problem.
- Schedule more strenuous or demanding work for the morning: Workers tend to be most alert before lunch.
- Use fitness trackers or sleep tracking apps: These tell your employees not just how much sleep they get getting but also whether it’s good quality. Sponsor company-wide sleep challenges, aiming for eight hours a night, or make sleep quality tracking part of your wellness plan.
- Adjust work schedules to accommodate rest: If your employees perform physically taxing tasks, allow them a bit of downtime to regroup. They will return energized and perhaps more efficient.
- Advise employees on good sleep habits: Spread the word through company newsletters, blogs or social media about the importance of establishing a sleep routine and why to avoid electronics an hour before bedtime.
- Make changes in lighting, temperature and other environmental factors: Workers’ surroundings can influence exhaustion. Turn up the lights or crank down the heat to keep them focused.
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