Drop in worker productivity in the UK linked to tiredness

A new productivity study has shown a growing negative link between sleep and productivity in the UK, as a result of the increasingly blurred lines between work life and home life in the UK.

Tiredness at work is lowering productivity in the UK
Almost two-thirds (66 per cent) of UK workers claim tiredness negatively impacts on productivity at work, research suggests.The study of 1,123 workers by Willis Towers Watson (WTW) risk management, an insurance brokerage and advisory service, found that more than a third (36 per cent) of workers are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, as a direct result of their job.Of the respondents who struggled to nod off, more than half cited difficulty in winding down after a stressful day at the office as the main reason for sleeplessness (55 per cent), followed by job worries (45 per cent), early starts (41 per cent) and late-night working (35 per cent).The research closely follows the launch of the world’s largest sleep study, which made headlines last month after a recruitment drive for 100,000 volunteers. Scientists in Western University, Ontario, hope the study will help them to gain a better understanding of the effects of sleep deprivation on brain function.

Work life and home life beginning to blur

Speaking about the new research, Mike Blake, a director at Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits, said, “The work environment is no longer confined to the office, with the stress of heavy workloads creeping into home life.“Whilst companies may benefit from a perceived ‘increase’ in productivity in the short-term, ongoing stress, coupled with lack of sleep, can risk having an overall negative impact on operational performance.“The launch of the worldwide sleep study is a clear indicator that fatigue will become a more prevalent and serious workplace issue that employers can ill afford to ignore.”Despite 65 per cent of workers saying tiredness has become a bigger workplace problem over the past five years, WTW’s research revealed that just 17 per cent of employers proactively educate their employees on the effect of sleep on general wellbeing.

Wellbeing programmes a potential answer

Mr Blake said employee-focused health and wellbeing programmes could help companies address the growing issue of fatigue at work.“Employers who become more attuned to the needs of their workers outside the office are more likely to retain a happy and healthy employee base,” he added.“Companies should aim to identify and tackle potential issues before they become a problem. Open dialogue is key to establishing a positive workplace culture that addresses and mitigates stress and fatigue.“This will allow managers to identify dips in productivity and tackle the root causes before more serious issues arise, such as absenteeism and presenteeism.”
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“By placing an emphasis on the importance of sufficient sleep, workers will also feel more comfortable approaching managers about fatigue and solutions can be found, such as meditative practices, review of workloads or flexible working hours.You can find out more about the Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits Barometer 2017 on their website.For related news and features, visit our Health section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre