Tiredness is damaging UK productivity

Two-thirds of UK workers say tiredness negatively affects their productivity at work, according to new research.

The study of over 1,000 workers by Willis Towers Watson reveals that 66% of workers say they are too tired to work at full capacity, 36% are struggling to get a good night's sleep because of their job and 65% say fatigue has become a bigger workplace problem over the past five years.

Of those who struggle to sleep, more than half cite work stress as the main reason for sleeplessness (55%), followed by job worries (45%), early starts (41%) and late-night working (35%).

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 research shows that 17% of employers proactively educate their employees on the effect of sleep on general wellbeing. Employee-focused wellbeing programmes allow managers to tackle the causes of low productivity before more serious issues arise, such as absenteeism and presenteeism.

"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," said Blake. "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."

"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."

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