Insufficient employee sleep

The Business Costs of Insufficient Employee Sleep

We’ve reported previously on the health concerns associated with a lack of sleep (for example here, here, and here). Today we report on the business financial concerns.

Rand recently released a report titled “Why sleep matters — the economic costs of insufficient sleep.” Among the report findings:

  • “The US sustains by far the highest economic losses (up to $411 billion a year) due to the size of its economy, followed by Japan (up to $138 billion a year). However, the relative numbers show that the estimated loss for Japan is actually higher than for the US (between 1.56 to 2.28 per cent for the US and 1.86 per cent to 2.92 per cent for Japan, respectively), with the UK (1.36 per cent to 1.86 per cent), Germany (1.02 per cent to 1.56 per cent) and Canada (0.85 per cent to 1.56 per cent) following behind.”
  • “On an annual basis, the US loses an equivalent of about 1.23 million working days due to insufficient sleep. This is followed by Japan, which loses on average 604 thousand working days per year. The UK and Germany have similar working time lost, with 207 thousand and 209 thousand days, respectively. Canada loses about 78 thousand working days.”

The World Economic Forum reports further in a piece titled “Lack of sleep isn’t just hurting you. It’s costing your country money.”

It states: “Insufficient sleep… can also have a negative impact on academic achievement and personal productivity levels. This means that a lack of sleep and its consequences do not just affect healthcare systems, it can affect entire economies.”

The Rand recommendations pertain to individuals, employers and public authorities:

  • “Individuals should: Set consistent wake-up times; limit the use of electronic items before bedtime; and exercise.”
  • “Employers should: Recognise the importance of sleep and the employer’s role in its promotion; design and build brighter workspaces; combat workplace psychosocial risks; and discourage the extended use of electronic devices.”
  • “Public authorities should: Support health professionals in providing sleep-related help; encourage employers to pay attention to sleep issues; and introduce later school starting times.”