Bed and mattress retail and manufacturing business Dreams has launched a new action plan to help its 2,000 UK-based employees improve their sleep.
The Sleep Better Programme, implemented in September 2019, provides managers with sleep health training and incorporating conversations about sleep into annual reviews.
Staff will also be able to access a 24-hour sleep helpline, gain bespoke sleep guidance through sleep surgery sessions with Dr Pixie McKenna, and utilise a physical sleep tracker, to better understand their sleep patterns and how they can be improved. The sleep tracker fits on to employees’ beds and connects to Dreams’ Napp app.
As part of the sleep action plan, Dreams is also building a sleep-supportive workplace culture, discouraging staff from working outside of their stated hours.
Dreams’ Sleep Better Programme was launched to employees during the organisation’s annual retail roadshow in September 2019, where chief executive officer Mike Logue presented the initiative to staff. The business also has an internal portal where information on the Sleep Better Programme is published.
Mike Logue (pictured), chief executive officer at Dreams, said: “Britain has a chronic sleep deficit and it is exacerbating our productivity crisis. Sleep is an opportunity to improve employee wellbeing and boost business, yet it is not being taken seriously. We need to put an end to workplace sleep stigma so more people and businesses can thrive.”
In conjunction with its sleep action plan, Dreams conducted research alongside Loughborough University, surveying 2,002 UK employees and 500 managers at organisations with 100 or more employees.
The Ending sleep stigma in the workplace report found that 25% of employees feel that their sleep problems mean they are unable to complete work they had planned because it is difficult to work fast and maintain the quality of their work. Seven in 10 (70%) staff have never spoken about sleep difficulties with their employer for fear that it would hold them back in their careers or increase scrutiny of their work; a further 26% believe their manager would not do anything to help with sleep difficulties and 26% worry that their colleagues would not understand.
Around a third (34%) of employees would value initiatives that reduce the impact of working life on their sleep, while 33% think they would show more loyalty to an organisation that took action to support sleep health. Approximately two-fifths (39%) feel more productive and achieve more at work after a good night’s sleep and 44% state that being less tired would enable them to do their job better.
Despite this, 63% of employers stated that sleep is the sole responsibility of the individual, while 39% think there is nothing they can do to help improve employees’ sleep health; only 3% of businesses have a sleep policy in place.
The research also found that employees are, on average, taking two sick days a year to catch up on sleep.
Dr Pixie McKenna, GP and sleep expert at Dreams, added: “Sleep is fundamental to good physical health and wellbeing, yet the significant majority of people simply aren’t getting adequate sleep.
“With people in Britain spending much more time at work than any other European nation, it’s no wonder our work experiences and places are having such a huge impact on our sleep health. It’s time for all of us in our personal and professional lives to prioritise getting better sleep.”