While it’s not your responsibility to teach your employees how to sleep better, you may want to think about.
There are various options you can offer in the workplace that help individuals, and a well-rested employee will be a more productive and engaged one. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between 18 to 64 years old sleep between seven and nine hours each night — but that’s just not happening. Results from the National Health Interview Survey show that 30 percent of U.S. adults sleep six or fewer hours per night.
As an employer, it’s not always easy to instruct your employees on how to sleep better. However, offering incentives and flexibility can help get employees onboard with the idea. So what can you do in the workplace to aid in a better night’s sleep for your staff?
Sleeping on the Job
Allowing employees to power nap throughout the day is becoming more prevalent, with companies such as Google offering sleep pods, nap rooms and quiet areas for employees to rest during the work day. According to the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University in England, taking a power nap during the workday will energize employees without having a negative impact on their ability to sleep at night. While this option won’t necessarily help employees learn exactly how to sleep better, it will encourage employees to rest when needed. Emphasizing the importance of getting adequate shut-eye can carry over to better habits at home.
Maybe afternoon naps aren’t in your business’ future. You can have employees with sleep tracking devices log how many hours they sleep for a contest, similar to an office fitness challenge. If possible, offer incentives — such as small bonuses or the ability to work from home — to the employees who consistently get ideal sleep.
A Sleep Health study found that employees at an IT company slept an average of one hour longer each week because management supported the idea of a healthy work-life balance and gave employees the freedom to choose their own work schedules. Some employees chose to begin their workday at 5 a.m., while others didn’t report to work until noon. All employees completed a full workday, but they did it on the schedule that worked best for them.
To get a program like this to work, there must be clear expectations in place, with an understanding from employees that expectations must be met and the program isn’t taken advantage of. This plan may not work in the service industry (because of scheduling concerns) but it is feasible in an office setting. And, if that kind of teamwork and trust can exist, everyone can feel confident about getting that extra snooze.
While you can’t demand employees learn how to sleep better, encouraging a restful night’s sleep shows them their well-being is important to you, even when they’re off the clock.
Allison Hutton is an experienced writer, editor, communications professional, researcher and social media consultant. During her more than 15 years of communications and writing experience, Allison has worked with a variety of clients, from small-business owners to Fortune 500 companies. She has an M.S. in entertainment business, a B.A. in communication and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and four children.