Ditch the 9-5 Routine and Sleep Better
It’s always been the standard to come in 9-5, and that’s what could be killing our productivity. While hypothetically a 9-5 seems reasonable, added times for commutes, overtime, and other unforeseen circumstances have left many 9-5ers feeling the sleep crunch. This has gotten so bad that a recent issue of Sleep magazine decided to study over 100,000 workers and report their findings. This is what they said:
“U.S. population time use survey findings suggest that interventions to increase sleep time should concentrate on delaying the morning start time of work and educational activities (or making them more flexible), increasing sleep opportunities, and shortening morning and evening commute times.”
Start Later, Work Better
As mentioned, a lot of the stresses put on by a 9-5 are actually things that happen outside the office. Commuting times are real, and in some urban areas can add an hour or more to start times. By staggering when employees could come in, we could spread out commuting over several hours, lessening the time it takes to get in — and also leave the office.
There’s some argument that with a delayed start time that employees may use the extra hours to do things other than sleep. Sleep magazine recently debunked this theory by showing that very often employees did use this time to sleep more, usually at least twenty minutes for every extra hour given.
“Results show that with every hour that work or educational training started later in the morning, sleep time increased by 20 minutes,” explains the research release. “Respondents slept an average of only six hours when starting work before or at 6 a.m. and 7.29 hours when starting work between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.” Self-employed respondents fared even better, obtaining “significantly more sleep than private sector employees” and becoming 17 percent less likely “to be a short sleeper.”
Another benefit of the internet revolution has been the proliferation of working remotely from home. These employees are able to utilize flexible start times, avoiding the typical commute, and starting when they feel rested and rejuvenated. Not only that, they’re helping to minimize travel times for other employees as there are now less vehicles on the road during peak commute hours. This idea was explored recently in a University of Minnesota sleep study case which found that employees with flexible scheduling were healthier, more aware, and better suited to stress than their 9-5 counterparts.
“Employees who were allowed to change their schedules and whereabouts based on their individual needs and job responsibilities reported getting almost an hour more sleep on nights before work,” reports the study. “They were less likely to feel obligated to work when sick and more likely to seek medical help, even when busy.”
More evidence to suggest that a flexible start time could be key to unlocking the best work situation for everyone involved. A well-rested employee is a happier, more productive employee.
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