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Sleep helps the function of the body and mind, to recharge and leave you refreshed when you awake in the morning. Without enough sleep, your ability to concentrate, think clearly and process things is impacted.
When we relate this to our workplaces, business professionals and leaders, those who are sleep deprived have a domino effect on their colleagues.
A recent study by the McKinsey Quarterly a survey of 196 business leaders resulted in the following:
- Almost half believe that lack of sleep has little impact on leadership performance.
- 66% said they were generally dissatisfied with how much sleep they get, and 55% were dissatisfied with the quality of sleep.
- Almost half of the leaders in our survey felt that their organizations expect them to be “on” too long and too responsive to emails and phone calls.
- 83% of the leaders said their organisations do not spend enough effort educating colleagues about the importance of sleep.
It is evident that there is a clear gap between individual sleep awareness and organisational expectations. There are a number of steps businesses and organisations can take to properly educate their employees about the importance of sleep and its effect on their work, everyday life and health.
- Education: Sleep management and sleep awareness programs should be taught in businesses, as part of professional development, just as other skills are. This will help raise awareness, productivity, health and well being of employees.
- Company Policies: Start a conversation among leaders to determine the best sleep-culture alternatives to suit the organisation. This signifies top managements intentions about their working expectations.
- Across Time Zone Teamwork: Companies must increasingly be responsive 24/7, but this doesn’t mean that specific people should bear the brunt of the burden single-handedly. Leaders should set an example by being mindful of local times (and the time preferences of the people involved) when scheduling global calls. Simply knowing the participants’ preferences can help reinforce a sleep-friendly culture.
- Emails: Companies could impose black out times on work emails, where emails automatically switch off after work hours to ensure there is less temptation for late-night work.
By starting a discussion with top management leaders in businesses, sleep health can become part of policies and training programs to improve both individual well-being and organisational efficiency and effectiveness.