Workers distracted by lack of sleep, money woes

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A recent Canada Life Group Insurance survey shows sleep deprivation and financial worries are keeping employees from doing their best at work, but employer flexibility could help.

The research suggests the work performance of 85 per cent of employees has been affected by work, health and personal pressures. Employee assistance programs to provide support and flexible work hourscould help reduce the effect on productivity.

The survey shows that while almost a third of employees are choosing to work through their lunch break, many are distracted or not performing to the best of their abilities because of problems in their personal lives. More than two-thirds say lack of sleep is the leading cause of poor concentration at work.

“Employees are leading increasingly pressured lives, both at home and in the workplace, and for many people this can affect their ability to perform at work,” says Paul Avis, sales and marketing director at Canada Life. “The increased pressure on employees may eventually limit the productivity and efficiency of the business.”

Just 15 per cent of employees claim they do not allow themselves to be distracted at work. A quarter of those surveyed say financial worries, such as debt or having to fund unexpected expense, leave them feeling distracted.

Avis says it is in the best interest of employers to work with employees to find a way of managing these pressure points. One of the best ways of managing pressure is through a healthy lifestyle work and personal problems could make it difficult to maintain, he said.

 “Employers can help to set employees on the road to productivity by providing them with the tools they need to lead a healthy lifestyle,” Avis says.

Employers could introduce to help employees manage the stress in their work and personal lives, and potentially increase productivity. Employees would most appreciate the ability to work flexible hours, storing up time in lieu, in which to manage their personal lives.

“Employers can help to manage work-induced stress by ensuring that they have mechanisms in place with which to deal with deadlines and workloads,” Avis says.

“It is important for employers to try to tackle the root causes of employee stress before they spiral into something more and become a reason for employee absence.”

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