Cost of Sleep and How to Keep your employees awake

Cost of sleep and keeping your employees awake

Inadequate Sleep: A disregarded expenditure

When we speak about business, we always have a general knowledge about its concerns: income and expenses. Also, when we talk about income and expenses one thing comes to mind: money. Seldom we would hear that a company focuses more in the lifestyle of their employees than gaining profit.

Whether we like it or not it is pragmatic and essential for a company to earn in order to survive and self sustain. However, just like us who are sometimes too focused on one objective, companies form a habit of overlooking the significant factors that contribute to the company as a whole. In other words, they give their full concentration on making money and forget the underlying principles that makes the whole company progress.

According to The Guardian, One in six people do more than 60 hours a week despite campaign for flexible employment.

Speaking of expenses, one practice could cost companies more than they expected and that is inadequate sleep. It is one of the health factors that are sometimes ignored by employers, evident on the increasing culture of excessive work overtime and shifting schedules.

Sleep Management

Getting enough sleep is a personal strategy bound by the choices of an individual. There are managers who work late but are able to manage their sleep, showing up well rested and full of energy the next day and there are those who look like zombies with a cup of joe on their grasp; those are the managers who after a few hours of sleep, they wake up with a poor memory, impatient disposition, and no inspiration.

It may be a personal issue but its effects are a part of a larger concern that every company should participate and find a solution especially in industries like the business process outsourcing/offshoring industry where employees are expected to be on-call duties and are able to answer emails any time of the day due to the various time zones of the clients.

The Cost of Sleep: Poor organizational leadership


According to the combined researches of Mckinsey, lack of sleep affects a significant part of the brain. The prefrontal cortex or the part of the brain that is responsible for the executive function such as problem solving, reasoning, organizing, inhibition, planning, and executing plans. These processes are known to be the basis of leadership skills.

Neuroscientists recognize that while other parts of the brain can deal quite well with inadequate sleep, the prefrontal cortex is unable to do so. While we experience grogginess and blurred vision when we lack sleep for a day or two, the gravity in terms of degradation of our executive functions is greater compared to the loss of vision and motor skills.

Imagine if the workforce sector of your company sleeps no more than four hours, that means poor performance of your employees but imagine if the executive sector who manages the whole company lacks the cognitive ability to make good decisions in business deals? I guess that means bad business for you and probably more expenses and poor functions that would cost more.


Solution: Schedule and Workplace Innovation

  1. Caffeine and rations


Beautiful woman drinking a cup of coffee and smiling

If not all, most companies got coffee makers or hot water dispensers in their office or workstations. Caffeine is the most popular and the easiest solution to this problem. However, coffee when not moderated can lead to health issues. An alternative could be something healthy to chew that helps them stay awake like peanuts, apples, or spicy chips.

2. A short time to snooze

While overtime culture worsens, forcing employees to work more than 8 hours a day for increased compensation, there is a big chance that they would perform their duties less. Creating a good schedule for these overtime employees could increase the quality of their work such as giving them 30-60 minutes for napping.

3. A comfortable space to snooze

Rather than seeing them sleep on their desks which could give them back pains, provide them not necessarily bunks but sofas or similar furniture comfortable enough for them to doze off like bean bag chairs.

4. Arranging a visually stirring headquarters

945b1e68-f172-43bb-a31c-6930a5debb96The temperature and environment also contribute to the drowsiness of every individual. A very warm or cold workplace make us feel fatigued or seduce us to cuddle around a warm blanket and sleep so it will be wise to control the room temperature.


The light intensity and colors around the office also affect our vivacity. Blue light helps us stay awake and alert while dim surroundings tempt us to slumber. Choose bright colors that are pleasing to the eyes such as white, peach, apple green, light orange and royal blue when painting the walls or choosing a motif for your workplace design.

5. A vivacious and fun atmosphere

A lively music can get your employees dancing and singing along especially when it’s their jam that’s playing. A little fun approach such as afternoon jokes broadcasted through the office sound system can send them smiling or laughing. Fun gimmicks like a 5 minute jumping jack session or 15 minute charades does not only keep your employees awake but also builds their relationship with each other.

Just try looking at this video where supermarket personnel dances as a part of the store’s marketing strategy.

These solutions relatively depend on how big your business is or what kind of services/work you’re handling.

In the end, the cost of sleep is still a substantial expense to the company. So rather than risking your profit and the health of your employees, it will be wiser to invest on solutions to combat the sluggishness of your business. The cost of the solutions above when maintained might be lesser than the tremendous consequences every manager will be facing with poor productivity.

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