More workers are tired on the job and it's bad for business

New research suggests that 76 per cent of people are regularly tired while working. But there are ways that businesses and employees can help boost morale and encourage a restful workforce.

New research suggests that 76 per cent of people are regularly tired while working

According to a productivity expert, sleep is the foundation of a successful day at work, but people don't value it enough. (Shutterstock)

Do you ever go to work tired? New research suggests you're not alone. The results from an online survey from Robert Half, an HR consulting firm, suggests that 76 per cent of people are regularly tired while working.

Nearly one-third or 31 per cent of respondents said they were "very often" tired on the job, 45 per cent said "somewhat often" and 23 per cent said it "rarely" occurred that they were tired on the job.

David King is the Canadian director at Robert Half, an HR consulting firm. (Robert Half)

The online survey randomly selected 570 Canadian employees in February 2018. The results are considered accurate plus or minus four per cent, 19 times out of 20.

David King is the Canadian director at Robert Half. He says a tired workforce severely impacts a company's bottom line.

"One of the big concerns is that you'll generally have a level of disengagement by employees," said King. "That leads to, certainly, a loss of morale; loss of productivity and things such as the missed deadlines or the mistakes in the person's work. That leads to a poor relationship with the employer and, potentially, ultimate turnover in their employment."

'Reframe your mindset to the value of sleep'

Clare Kumar isn't surprised that so many people are tired on the job. It's one of the complaints that she consistently hears from her clients.

Clare Kumar is the founder of Streamlife and calls herself a productivity catalyst. (Submitted by Clare Kumar)

Kumar is the founder of Streamlife, which helps clients to get organized, improve productivity and achieve greater peace of mind at work. She says people don't value sleep enough, but it's the foundation of a successful day at work.

"You need to get your head around that sleep is when your body heals," said Kumar. "It's not time when nothing is going on. You have to reframe your mindset to the value of sleep. You have to believe that you deserve the sleep and then you have to set your schedule up to claim it."

But Kumar says that companies also have a significant role to play in combating a sleepy workforce.

"Look at the culture that you're creating and the language around sleep in your office," said Kumar.

Tips to decrease incidents of tiredness

Kumar suggests employers take bold steps to decrease incidents of tiredness by, for example, creating an electronics-free wellness room where workers can go to relax for 15 to 20 minutes or even take a power nap.

She encourages bosses to lead by example by not consistently working late nights or sending emails after hours. She also says encouraging employees to unplug when they leave the office and not rewarding employees who work long hours can go a long way to boost morale and promote a restful workforce.

Ultimately, says Kumar, we have to take responsibility for ourselves by making sure we get seven to eight hours of sleep, exercise regularly and eat right.

"The broader, more important strategy is around cultivating the right amount of sleep for you," said Kumar. "And I call that getting in touch with your sleep number: determining exactly how much sleep you need and then setting up not only the environment for sleep, but also your schedule so that you actually claim the sleep that your body needs."

All the stuff we know we should do, but every once in a while need a reminder to actually do it.


Rubina Ahmed-Haq

Business columnist

Rubina is a business columnist who has been covering money matters for more than 10 years. Her career began 20 years ago as a news reporter. After a decade on the news beat she realized her passion was discussing personal finance issues. Now, she weighs in on money and workplace matters on CBC Radio, CBC TV and CBC News Network. Her goal is to get Canadians to take control of their personal finances on their own. Follow her on Twitter @RubinaAhmedHaq


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?