A study from Harvard Medical School reported that US employers were losing $63 billion a year. The culprit was the familiar diagnosis of insomnia.
As reported by reported by CBS News:
The average worker loses 11 days and $2,300 in productivity each year by not getting enough shut-eye. These people are still on the job, just dragging.
“We were shocked by the enormous impact insomnia has on the average person’s life,” [wrote] study author Dr. Ronald C. Kessler.
“Americans are not missing work because of insomnia. They are still going to their jobs but accomplishing less because they’re tired.”
The report data came from a survey of over 7,000 employees. More than a fifth of respondents indicated that they were “insomniacs.” The researchers also analyzed variables such as gender, age, and education level.
Unfortunately, the prescription for this billion dollar problem doesn’t really address the real issue. According to the article:
Kessler said employers tend to ignore insomnia’s consequences since it’s not considered a real disease. He hopes his finding will encourage employers to pay for treatment programs, which can cost up to $1,200 a year for therapy.
What’s the cause of insomnia? According to the National Institutes of Health, a lack of refreshing sleep is usually caused by stress or anxiety, or by alcohol and caffeine—the two drugs we use to manage stress and anxiety. The article delves into the causes and classification further.
The study found education was a factor, and in this case, less education is more sleep.
Only 19 percent of people with less than a high school education were insomniacs, but 25 percent of their diploma-touting counterparts had insomnia.
Insomnia occurs when people have difficulty sleeping for at least a month. Some cases are caused by alcoholism, anxiety, coffee, and stress, but insomnia can also result from medical conditions like depression. The more insomniacs think about getting enough sleep, the more stressed they become, which results in less sleep.
Insomnia treatment programs might help, but it should be clear that there’s a more fundamental reason that employees are less productive due to lack of sleep: the stress of their working hours. If workers show up at the office at 8AM sharp but had trouble falling asleep the night before, is the mandatory arrival time really a good idea? If employees are struggling with unreasonable expectations that cause low employee satisfaction which leads to them lying awake at night with stress, maybe it’s time to address the volume of work?
Kessler’s last quote in the article poses the following question:
“Now that we know how much insomnia costs the American workplace, the question for employers is whether the price of intervention is worthwhile,” said Kessler. “Can U.S. employers afford not to address insomnia in workplace?”
Here at AccelaWork, we think not. And we’re trying to fight insomnia by actually being reasonable. It’s part of our philosophy on task management:
Please conduct your work wherever and whenever you feel you can be most productive, most efficient, most effective, and most satisfied.
Had to stay up all night with a sick child? Just let someone know that you will be catching up on sleep instead of working on a project. Concerned about a deadline? Communicate with the team so we can adjust resources and expectations.
Work should not be a cause of distress, but a place filled with opportunity and meaning. Don’t lose sleep over your job. Instead, figure out how to get enough so you can do your job in way that makes you proud.
To learn more about workplace productivity, reach out to the best business improvement services Indianapolis has to offer.