Dreaming of productivity improvement

It’s well known resource workers suffer from disturbed sleep patterns and high fatigue. Fluctuating schedules and demands of the industry mean many employees are not rejuvenating enough between shifts to arrive at work with all engines firing.

When we get less than 7.5 hours of quality sleep, our cognitive function diminishes and we perform poorly. Problem solving becomes difficult, accidents increase and mood swings disrupt the flow of steady work.

The cost is high. An Australian Sleep Health Foundation study found lack of sleep costs Australia $5.2 billion annually in lost productivity and subsequent accidents.

Companies can play a significant role in creating a culture that supports and encourages wellbeing - helping their workforce be at their best. Healthy, well- rested employees lead to greater results all round.

What can companies do? Here are a few practical suggestions that will make a difference.

1. A culture that values wellbeing
The most potent way to influence your workforce is through organisational culture, behavioural examples from leaders and recognising that being safe is more important that being tough.
Give regular reminders about the benefits of ample rest for health and quality of life. Communicate this in various ways, so you appeal to differing mindsets.

For example; send email or text messages with practical de-stress and sleep-well tips; give visual queues such as posters they regularly see with motivating messages such as: Sleep is your number one ally for health. Having issues? Ask for help. An extra hour of sleep will improve your mood and energy. Make sleep a priority and you’ll feel a whole lot better. These reminders can inspire workers to make wiser choices.

2. Provide training with immediate impact
Help employees get maximum benefit from downtime with training that empowers them with the ability to reduce stress and improve sleep. When people have alternatives to alcohol and medication for winding down, they have a choice. If not, they can get trapped in a cycle of high-stress, sleep deprivation and poor performance.

By introducing relatively simple programs, you can enhance the coping skills, emotional wellbeing and personal fatigue management of your workforce. This in turn maximizes productivity and company returns.

3. Be informed and offer incentives
Do regular health checks that monitor sleep and measure work performance, so you’re aware of what’s really going on. Offer incentives that excite your team for improvements in health and performance.

4. Work accommodation conducive to quality sleep
Simple changes to accommodation can improve sleep quality, enabling workers to emerge revitalised. By understanding the impact of environment on sleep and the exact changes that will help, you can make wise investments with a substantial return. One of the most powerful considerations is light. Light exposure not only makes it difficult to fall asleep, it inhibits deep sleep, which provides the most rejuvenation. Offering ambient lighting options and the ability to block light from outside are two significantly helpful changes.

5. Resources that improve sleep
The skills needed to release stress and wind down into quality sleep can be learnt with support and guidance. There are various resources available, such as The Sleep Kit for Remote Workers. This is a practical guide to great sleep that includes a step-by-step booklet and an audio track on a simple mp3 player that guides the listener into deep sleep.

Ahna de Vena helps resource companies get the best from their employees through sleep support strategies, seminars and resources. Learn more about Ahna and her Sleep Kit for Remote Workers at www.ahnadevena.com. NMC

Picture: Thinkstock

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