Colin Lawlor, CEO, SleepScore Labs.
Everyone will probably remember the Bob Dylan song “The Times They Are A-Changin”. Indeed, leaders know that change is the only constant. But right now you may feel it more. The pace is unrelenting. These are challenging times economically, politically and socially. These are the kinds of moments when people can lose sleep.
During the early phases of the pandemic, there were: improvements in sleep time for some groups. However, my more than 13 years in the sleep space, as well as my time as CEO of a company that offers personalized sleep solutions, tells me that as economic pressures mount, we can expect many positive changes to be at risk of being traded off. for longer work hours and more stress while everyone is looking for a better return on investment. If the pressure continues to build, many could increasingly alter their sleep to compensate.
We all know that it takes more ingenuity and creativity to find ways through challenges. The problem is that the reflex response is often to try harder by working more and charging less. In the face of mounting pressures, having more sleepless nights can exacerbate the issues people are trying to address.
Why it’s so important to encourage your team to charge
Many studies show the relationship between sleep deprivation, creativity and cognitive functioning. According to a 2004 study published in Nature, titled “Sleep Inspires Insight,” sleep “facilitates the extraction of explicit knowledge and insightful behavior.” That’s why your teacher may have told you to sleep on it when you’re faced with a complex question. Dozens of studies have shown that sleep deprivation affects many aspects of cognitive functionranging from reaction times to decision making.
As an employer, you do not want employees with reduced response times, poor decision-making and less decisiveness in challenging times. Right now you probably need everyone.
Then there are the costs. In 2022, a analysis by Gallup and Casper found that “employees who typically sleep poorly—an estimated 7% of the U.S. workforce—report more than double the unplanned sick leave compared to other workers, resulting in an estimated $44.6 billion in lost productivity per year.” piece of year.”
Help team members compete for talent
Competing for talent means listening to your people. The good news is that employees are now looking for better insights into their sleep and better support from their employers to find out. According to an Survey 2020 by Alight (download required), 78% of employees rated their employer-provided sleep schedule, and 86% said, “Getting good sleep can impact their ability to fully contribute at work and at home .”
To ensure that your employees get the rest and relaxation time they need, you need to switch to the improvement phase. A McKinsey Survey 2021 found that when it comes to wellness offerings, “a significant majority of consumers around the world say they prioritize personalization more now than they did two or three years ago.” The same study reported that, in terms of better sleep, “half of consumers worldwide expressed a desire for more products and services to meet the need for higher quality sleep.” The demand for personalized and reliable services and solutions is high.
As an employer, meeting these wishes may mean providing employees with an open forum to request the resources or adjustments they need to get a good night’s sleep. It can also take the form of employers not only educating themselves on what employees need to get the best rest, but also exploring the tools currently available in the market to enable their team members to thrive.
Employers must also:
1. Set clear working hours limits. This can be a signal to employees that spending free time is an important part of the company culture. Setting these boundaries — and respecting them — can be a simple yet powerful adjustment that makes time outside of work a high priority.
2. Respect time zone differences. Because remote working offers so many new job opportunities for people who don’t always live in the same time zone, it’s important to be aware of time differences when it comes to scheduling virtual calls. Creating a schedule that allows everyone to be present during normal business hours as often as possible sets the tone for an organization that values recovery outside the office.
3. Discover programs and tools that promote physical and mental wellness support. These solutions often come in the form of corporate wellness or employee support programs and can be a great way to show that you put the wellbeing of your employees first.
Take the following steps to avoid being weakest when you need to be strongest
Business results depend on the well-being of your people. I believe the future of sleep improvement depends on being able to help people with all types of sleep problems eventually sleep better, whatever that means for them. I have pointed out before that this must be based on sound research and science. To have the desired impact, employers must then take steps to support their people. This also means shaping corporate wellness programs that help teams recharge.