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Lack of sleep and “sickies”

A survey by Sealy UK has found that more than one in five workers has called in sick following a bad night’s sleep. One in ten workers has admitted to nodding off at work whilst 12% have taken themselves off somewhere at work for a power nap. Research suggests that power naps are effective in increasing memory and alertness but generally, sleeping on the job is regarded as an act of misconduct and can land employees in hot water. Individuals are more likely to take a day off, commonly known as a “sickie”, rather than have a snooze at work.

Whilst we don’t suggest allowing your employees time to catch up on their zzzzzz’s, there can be many causes of tiredness ranging from going to bed late to an inability to switch off from work. The use of technology, like mobile phones with instant access to work email, may be a key factor in individuals not being able to disengage from their job. The side effects and associated health-related issues which can arise from poor sleep include depression, fatigue, heart disease and anxiety. If an impairment has a long-term, adverse affect on a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities then they may meet the definition under the Equality Act 2010. This would give rise to obligations on an employer to make reasonable adjustments.

Employers have a duty of care towards employees and are required to safeguard their health including their mental health. This means that managers should consider making sure that employees get sufficient “down” time. This is likely to benefit both parties in terms of performance, motivation and alertness.

If you would like assistance managing health-related issues or sickness absence, we can help. We regularly advise businesses on their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and we provide training and support where needed. Give us a call for a free no obligation chat to see how we can help you.

Posted in: Employment

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