Sleep deprivation costs workers and companies, survey shows

Employees admit to falling asleep on the job, making substantial financial errors

Posted March 14, 2016

It may be time for a wake-up call. In a recent survey 74 percent of U.S. workers said they work while tired, with 31 percent admitting they do so very often.

According to the Accountemps survey, the costs of working while tired are high for both professionals and the businesses where they work. Respondents cited the following consequences:

  • Lack of focus or being easily distracted — 52 percent
  • Procrastinating more — 47 percent
  • Being grumpy — 38 percent
  • Making more mistakes — 29 percent

Furthermore professionals admitted to — or had heard of others — making the following mistakes due to being tired on the job:

  • Made a $20,000 mistake on a purchase order
  • Deleted a project that took 1,000 hours to put together
  • Accidentally reformatted a server
  • Fell asleep in front of the boss during a presentation
  • Missed a decimal point on an estimated payment and the client overpaid by $1 million
  • Accidentally paid everyone twice
  • Talked about a client, thinking the phone was on mute…it wasn't
  • Ordered 500 more computers than were needed

“Failing to take action can lead to big problems such as burnout, turnover, and a negative corporate culture, along with lost sales and productivity,” said Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps.

Accountemps offers managers the following tips for maintaining a well-rested staff:

Manage workloads. Meet with employees regularly to evaluate what's on their plates and set priorities and realistic expectations based on business needs. If there's too much work to go around, consider bringing in temporary help to keep projects moving forward while relieving the burden on full-time staff.

Encourage employees to take breaks. Some professionals might choose to forgo breaks to get their work done. But remind staff that a tired employee isn't an effective or productive one — they need an occasional time-out to recharge.

Consider making changes. Implementing flexible schedules and telecommuting options or providing rest areas in the building can make a big difference for workers.

Lead by example. As a manager, employees take their cues from you, so set a good example. Take sporadic breaks, get away from your desk, and work normal business hours. Your staff will likely follow suit.


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