Businesses dedicate significant funds to initiatives that drive employee performance, but one basic, yet crucial element may be overlooked, warn leading workplace psychologists. A study has shown that 39.8 per cent of Australians  are not getting enough sleep and that sleep deprivation is equating to productivity losses of $17.9 billion.
We’ve become an ‘always-on’ society and while it may seem like a win for businesses, what they gain in hours is lost inefficiency. Keeping our phones and laptops within arm’s reach at all times to work at any given time has a significant impact on our mental and physical health. In this fast-paced environment, something has to give, and for many it’s sleep. We are in a dangerous cycle of not getting all of the work done because we’re sleep-deprived, and not sleeping because we’re not getting all of the work done.
Lack of sleep negatively affects our ability to think clearly, learn, concentrate and retain important information, which affects efficiency in the workplace. In a recent study, employees who reported ‘almost always’ feeling tired during the day had 4.4 times more productivity loss than those who reported ‘almost never’ feeling tired .
Insufficient sleep also impacts our mood and emotional wellbeing. Whilst extreme lack of sleep can induce serious psychological effects such as paranoia and memory loss, more subtle consequences such as anger and impatience can also prove challenging in a professional environment. Teamwork and cooperation play an essential role in business success, so when short tempers flare, relationships between colleagues become strained. 84% of people feel more irritable as a result of poor sleep , and with a volatile work atmosphere, staff members can become disengaged and negative, which contribute to poor team culture and low morale.
Inadequate sleep also kills more than 3,000 Australians each year  due to workplace and road accidents, and the total cost of work-related injuries and fatalities as a result of poor sleep is estimated at $2.25 billion  per year. These risks of fatigue are more prominent in businesses where shifts are common or employees are on call, such as factories, constructions sites and hospitals. In these industries, fatigue-related errors could have serious consequences for not only the workers but others around them.