Last night, did you find yourself tossing and turning in your bed, unable to sleep? Rather than counting sheep, were you fretting about problems at work?
Even if you were lucky enough to be sleeping soundly, the chances are that many of your colleagues were not. Recent research we conducted revealed that six million UK employees – more than the entire population of Scotland – will have a restless night this week because of work issues.
Perhaps not so surprising given the study also discovered that two-fifths (40%) of UK workers have suffered high workloads or felt burnt out in the past twelve months. Everyone from every age group is affected. The biggest worriers are 25 to 34-year-olds – more than a quarter (28%) say work issues affect their sleep every week. Yet, it is the 35 to 44-year-olds who are suffering the most problems at work, with more than half (57%) of them having felt burnt out or having to deal with high workloads in the past 12 months.
If you’re a leader, working in HR or a line manager – it’s time to proactively address this. People worrying about work issues will happen – but for it to affect sleep on a weekly basis could lead to longer term issues with your workforce. So, how can you help ease work worries and ensure your colleagues get more good sleep?
The very simple answer – encourage and enable them to talk to someone. If something is bothering them at work, especially if it is keeping them up at night, they need to talk it through. There is a reason we keep repeating the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. However, it can be difficult for people to speak up. It can be hard to find the right person, your manager may be busy, the issue could be sensitive, and many other barriers exist that stop us asking for help. As leaders and managers in the business, we should be empowering colleagues to give and seek advice on work and life challenges. I built Rungway to answer this need. Rungway is a safe place for ‘always on’ peer-to-peer support and colleagues can seek advice publicly or anonymously. Imagine crowdsourcing the very best advice across your entire organisation, that’s Rungway!
Lack of sleep is just one outcome of unresolved issues at work. These worries could be having a longer-term impact on your colleagues’ health, resulting in a dip in productivity and performance. I’ve seen for myself the power of creating an environment where people can speak up. We’re currently partnering with a number of global organisations using Rungway and the feedback has been eye-opening. Users have embraced Rungway as a way to speak up and grow professionally, whilst organisations gain valuable insights into their workforce, from trending topics to workplace sentiment. I’ll be telling you much more about these results over the coming months.