Sleep: Why Should Leadership and HR Take Notice?
Evidence of our 24/7 culture's impact on our sleep is showing up more and more, including at work. According to the CDC over 30% of the U.S. workforce is not getting the sleep they need and sleep deprivation is a public health epidemic.1 It's becoming increasingly clear that insufficient sleep is not sustainable. Be it at work or at home, employees and employers are taking notice.
Research has provided mounting evidence that sleep deprivation has a significant economic cost, playing havoc with the bottom line. According to the RAND Europe report, up to $411 billion of economic output is lost every year in the U.S. due to insufficient sleep.2 Corporations spend billions of dollars on training and development. HR invests significant dollars and resources to hire employees for myriad positions, seeking specific skill sets.
However, if an employee is Corporations spend billions of dollars on training and development. HR invests significant dollars and resources to hire employees for myriad positions, seeking specific skill sets. However, if an employee is sleep deprived - from CEO to an employee just out of college or graduate school - the dollars spent on their training and development, as well as their skill sets, are compromised, costing the company in myriad ways.
Be it performance, productivity, decision-making, working with a team, safety, health or health care costs, all suffer if a person is not getting the quality and quantity of sleep they require to function optimally. Over the past number of years, corporations have offered Employee Wellness resources and programming for fitness and nutrition. However, sleep was generally not included.
In fact, without good sleep nutrition and fitness often suffer. Bottom line? Sleep is an essential component of health, wellness, performance and more. How an employee sleeps directly impacts how they function at work on virtually all levels. Alas, C-Suite and HR leaders are beginning to undergo a paradigm shift, recognizing that a corporate culture that condones giving sleep a back seat can be counterproductive and costly.
In fact, a well-rested employee is an asset, enhancing the bottom line, whereas a sleep-deprived employee can be a liability and result in added costs for the employer, be it accident related or from sub-optimal productivity. There is an ROI from providing sleep education and training to the workforce.3 While the employer cannot mandate how an employee sleeps, they can provide sleep education and training resources for their workforce, including basic sleep science and strategies for sustainable sleep improvement.
In my consulting work with corporations and organizations in a wide array of industries, I've witnessed widespread employee engagement in sleep education and programming offered by their employer. Testimonials provide evidence that employees appreciate such offerings and feel greater loyalty to their employer for supporting their health and well-being. Employees are taking notice when their employer gives them the opportunity and support to optimize their sleep. It's a win-win for all.
1 CDC Newsroom, 1 if 3 Adults Don't Get Enough Sleep: A Good Night's Sleep is Critical for Good Health. February 18, 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html
2 Hafner, Marco, Martin Stepanek, Jirka Taylor, Wendy M. Troxel and Christian Van Stolk. Why sleep matters - the economic costs of insufficient sleep: A cross-country comparative analysis. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2016. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1791.html
3 Rothstein, Nancy H., The ROI of a Good Night's Sleep. CIRCADIAN. 2016. http://www.circadian.com/solutions-services/corporate-sleep-programs.html