Paying attention to exhausted employees

Monitoring unhealthy conditions at work could help HR cure unproductivity.

Monitoring unhealthy conditions at work could help HR cure unproductivity.

A recently released study from MetLife and AXA looked at the importance of sleep, particularly noting how lack of sleep impacts the active workforce. According to its findings, sleep deprivation is not just a health risk but a concern for employers: sleep disorders account for more lost time at work than fatigue, anxiety or depression. Furthermore, less-rested employees may be more reckless at work, worse at communicating and more likely to exhibit inappropriate behavior.

For HR staff, especially those interested in analytics, observing employee exhaustion could suggest possible solutions. Do workers have enough breaks or work from home options to relieve stress? Are schedules too irregular for natural sleep patterns? Companies can then put the necessary systems in place to make the work pace more regular.

Employee exhaustion is a serious threat to productivity.Employee exhaustion is a serious threat to productivity.

Do workers have enough breaks or work from home options to relieve stress? Are schedules too irregular for natural sleep patterns?

Another option is a policy that allows for naps in the workplace. While it seems impractical, major businesses like Google, Zappos and Nike offer facilities for naps, the study shows. A short nap period, twenty minutes or less, can be built into the workday to make up for possible losses and keep employees on task.

CNN recently spoke to Dr. Natalie Dautovich on the changing opinions toward daytime naps.

"At one time we thought naps were bad for sleep and bad for us," she said. "I think we're starting to understand [napping is] a much more complex phenomenon."

To adapt to new policies and norms in the workplace, HR departments should work with HR software implementation consultants that will help them select the system that fits best.