Innovative employers are now implementing a subtler type of employee health benefit for sleep deprived workers, prompted by escalating healthcare claim expenditures. Investing in the typical physical activity programs and nutritional awareness seminars have generally been considered as justifiable expenses.
However, a few cutting-edge corporations are adding "sleep" components to their employee wellness programs for health and safety purposes. These have proven effective since fatigued, sleep deprived and/or obese employees drain productivity and profitability.
Sleepy employees negatively impact results from health programs such as physical activity and nutrition programs.
The World Health Organization suggests: "Workplace physical activity programs in the USA can reduce short-term sick leave (by 6 to 32 percent), reduce health care costs (by 20 to 55 percent), and increase productivity (by 2 to 52 percent)."
How motivated are sleep-deprived employees to jump on a treadmill or get to their exercise class, when they can barely cope with getting through their work day?
Options for employers to consider are teaching healthier sleep habits and providing sanctioned napping opportunities. Unhealthy employees evidence more absenteeism, need more medical care and produce substandard work.
By training people to sleep better they will be better motivated to work out.
Healthiness is contagious!
Healthy, happy employees "rub off" on their colleagues. Employers benefit from workers who are diligent and have higher morale.
Therefore employers aren't forced to contend with as many episodes of workplace harassment and incidences that escalate from bickering to violence are reduced.
Health Benefit of Improved Nutrition
A subtler employee health benefit that deserves exploration is improved nutrition. Employers can greatly influence food choices in the workplace by offering:
• On-site food at affordable prices that is nutritious and appealing.
• Better selections in vending machines such as: nuts, yogurt, milk, juice and fruit. • Healthier snacks for meetings. Instead of sugary, salty, caffeinated foods, offer juices, fruit, English muffins and peanut butter.
• Lengthen lunchtime so that employees can take advantage of on-site exercise programs and have adequate time to eat. There is generally no employer liability when employees exercise during their lunch, making this a win/win benefit.
• Give the employee permission to arrive early or stay late in order to make-up for longer lunchtimes.
Research shows that sleep deprivation and weight gain go hand-in-hand. So even your nutritional/diet programs are sabataged when you've got sleepy employees.
Your investment in improving nutrition in the workplace unfortunately will not be fully optimized. Sleep deprived employees have insatiable cravings to snack on low quality carbs and fats, both in the workplace and during night time bingeing, overriding nutritious workplace programs and their resolve to eat healthy foods.
Preventing Workplace Harassment
The strongest action an employer can take toward an employee health benefit is the prevention of workplace harassment. According to a study led by Dave Logan, Ph.D, of University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, social networking in the workplace is led by "tribes". Tribes dialogue with each other and can be categorized into five stages.
In the stage most likely to commit workplace harassment, tribes are predominately negative and exhibit hostile behavior toward others. The most desirable stage is where employees see life as fantastic. This is the atmosphere innovative companies are striving for to prevent workplace harassment.
Logan suggests that managers observe cliques to determine tribal stages. By offering employee incentives and really listening to what employees need, tribes can be motivated to shift from a negative stage to a more desirable stage.
Employers should always remain aware that tired employees have lower tolerance. Improving sleep improves mood, control of emotions, depression and anxiety; therefore cutting down on workplace flare-ups and litigation.
The desirable outcome is that workplace harassment and absenteeism drops and employee commitment rises.
The Bottom Line ...
Sleep is the last, if ever, 'remedy' that employers consider to solve everyday employee challenges or reverse their profit drain. It should be the first!
Most employers aren't aware of sleep's insidious effect. Jump on the bandwagon with other leading-edge companies. Overnight results are possible once sleep help is included in your employee health benefit program.
Fill out the following form for more details on how you can start reducing your short-term sick leave and health care costs while increasing your productivity and profitability ... and more!
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Effects of Sleep Deprivation | ©Wikipedia