How tiredness could be dragging SMEs down

Staff falling asleep at their desks or taking time off work for tiredness is costing the UK economy more than £450 million a year, a new study suggests.


Sealy UK has said that a lack of sleep is impacting on productivity for companies, as lost time and lower concentration levels have an impact.


More than one fifth of workers said they had recently called in sick or had turned up late for work due to tiredness.


Men were found to be 6% more likely to do this while the combined cost to the UK was estimated to be £453m, based on average earnings and the average length of a working day.


The issue was found to be more prevalent in some locations than others, as 32% of workers in Belfast suggested tiredness is a major problem.


Newcastle, Birmingham and Leeds also had high rates of staff taking time off due to tiredness, as 30%, 27% and 25% did so respectively in these cities.


One in ten workers admitted to regularly falling asleep in meetings or at their desk, adding that they constantly feel exhausted in the workplace.


This could be having a detrimental effect on the companies they work for, as well as on the economy as a whole.


A fall in productivity can see sales drops which can ultimately impact on bottom line finances – especially at smaller firms who operate on tight budgets.


Even the smallest decreases in sales can have an impact which is why business owners need to make the effort to ensure that staff remain motivated and productive.


Those that do not could be left facing administration or other issues if they are not capable of meeting their financial obligations.


Some workers told the survey they battle tiredness by taking a power nap during the day – 12% say they have done it on occasions while 6% said it was a common occurrence.


Nearly a third of those in the IT sector revealed they take time out to sleep, suggesting that performance might suffer if this was not the case.


Businesses who manage the workloads of their staff effectively should see better results in the long term, but there is no clearly defined approach to take.


By Phil Smith


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