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How Sleep Deprivation Affects Employee Production

29th Oct 2018
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We’re all guilty of shorting ourselves on sleep here and there.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that sleep deprivation is costly and it could be holding your team back.

Think about it. Do you function optimally when you’ve only had ten hours of sleep in the past few days? Well, now imagine that your entire workforce is functioning at that level every day.

Are businesses working their teams to death and sacrificing productivity in the processes? It sure looks that way.

The costs of chronic employee sleep deprivation

According to a research report from RAND Corporation, the United States sustains the highest economic losses from employee sleep deprivation. How much exactly? Oh, just $411 billion per year.

The report says that workers receiving less than six hours of sleep each night are more likely to call in sick to work or show up sick. This amounts to about six missed days of year – just due to lack of sleep.

It’s hard to find workers in any industry that get their recommended seven to nine hours each night. However, the most sleep deprived professions include food service workers, communication operators, and general production workers.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared sleep deprivation a public health crisis. With dangerous consequences, it’s easy to see why.

Lack of sleep (or poor-quality sleep) combined with driving or operating heavy machinery creates a recipe for disaster. Not only that, but sleep deprivation increases a person’s mortality risk by a staggering 13%.

7 ways sleep deprivation affects employee productivity

Is it really worth pulling that extra shift or missing a few hours of sleep just to get more work done? Let the information below guide your answer.

1. You waste time correcting errors

Investigations attribute sleep deprivation to some of the worst workplace disasters in the world including Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, the Challenger explosion, and the Exxon oil spill. Your mistakes behind a desk might not be quite this devastating, but you (or someone else) will have to spend time correcting them.

2. Every task takes longer to complete

The first casualty of sleep deprivation is your cognitive function. And if you’re chronically sleep deprived, you might not even notice it anymore. This decreased cognitive function makes it difficult to finish your tasks in a timely manner.

3. It leads to mental health conditions

Chronic sleep deprivation has a direct link with depression and anxiety. Each of these conditions impacts employee productivity in their own unique ways.

4. What were you doing again?

Your cognitive ability helps you stay focused and actually remember things. When you sacrifice a few hours of sleep each night, you’re really sacrificing your memory and retention abilities.

5. Say goodbye to snappy decision making

Decreased cognitive function also means poor decision-making skills. If you have to multitask, delegate, or work in high pressure situations, sleep deprivation will destroy you.

6. It reduces overall energy and enthusiasm

Sleep deprivation shares many symptoms with depression like memory loss, anhedonia, and apathy. Some type of energy or enthusiasm is crucial for workplace productivity.

7. It’s hard to be productive when you’re out of work from an injury

You might not cause a Chernobyl disaster, but you could seriously hurt yourself at work while completing a very basic task due to poor motor skills. That is, if you even make it to work: experts say driving after missing a few hours of sleep is comparable to driving drunk.

We can’t afford sleep deprived employees

It’s time to make sleep a priority. Talk to employees about their sleep schedule and find solutions that work for your team.

Not only is it literally killing us, but it’s costing the economy over $400 billion each year. We can’t afford to keep this up.

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