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Work keeps us awake at night


According to an independent survey commissioned by health & well-being management company vielife, an alarming 22 per cent of all employees in Great Britain, 6.1 million people, lose sleep over work.

Senior and middle management households are the most severely affected, with 28 per cent saying their work life impacts negatively on their ability to get a sound night’s sleep. And those employees climbing the career ladder aged between 25 – 44 are more likely to suffer job-related sleep problems than other age groups, with more than a quarter admitting they regularly or sometimes suffer sleeplessness because of work.

Despite the extent of this problem, only a third of employees say their employer currently offers a support system to help cope with workplace stress and its impact on sleep. Yet nearly half of employees say they would consider using a confidential health & well-being system to manage work-life balance. Reflecting the changing work environment and growth of computer literacy, this 48 per cent say they would use an online-based health and wellness system at work.

Sleep expert Professor Chris Idzikowski, commented: ‘A key indicator of the health & well-being of individuals are their sleeping patterns. Lack of sleep can result in increased absenteeism, decreased productivity and higher workplace accident levels. Employers need to wake up to this problem now and help their employees manage their work-life balance if they want British business to increase productivity and compete effectively worldwide.’

Employers in the North may have some suggestions to combat the impact of work on sleeping patterns – the survey shows just 14 per cent of employees in the North say they lose sleep over their jobs. This compares with 28 per cent of employees in Wales, and a quarter or more of the workforces in London (25 per cent), the West Midlands (25 per cent) and the North West (26 per cent).

Clive Pinder, Managing Director of vielife Consulting, commented: “At a time when the annual cost of work-related illness to British business is estimated to be £12 billion 2, employers must adopt a preventative approach, recognising the symbiotic relationship between employee health & well-being and organisational performance.”

Key findings

Men v women
There’s very little gender gap when it comes to the impact of work on sleeping patterns, men – 23% and women – 22%

Age difference
16-24 year age group were the most likely to say they would use an online service than workers aged 25-44.

Socio-economic differences
Professionals and managers – AB social-grade households – are much more affected (28%) by work-related sleep problems than semi-skilled manual workers (17%).

Losing sleep: an unacceptable situation, or just part of the job? Post your comments below.

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