Even the toughest employers are now recognising the value of rested workers

Employees are now becoming more aware of their health and companies are concurring with a new way of thinking

A number of large companies already offer their employees nap rooms, including the Huffington Post, Ben & Jerry’s, Zappos and Google. Media and technology executives are also expressing their need for better work-life balances and increased rest and are calling on employers to act upon this.

While the remainder of the business world has been slower on the uptake, things could be about to change as the result of businesses such as renowned consulting firm McKinsey championing these revolutionary changes.

A recent report released by McKinsey indicated the key areas that companies need to focus on to ensure their staff enjoy better wellbeing, including ensuring that holidays are taken by staff and that nap rooms are created in the workplace. Its study also looked to remove the preconception that sleep is a luxury, with the consultancy firm spreading the word to its large client base.

Speaking about the report’s findings, co-author Els van der Helm said many people still feel that sleep is a hindrance when they are working. Many nap rooms are not utilised, as there is still a taboo around them.

McKinsey also found that even executives struggle to turn their thoughts into reality. Its report demonstrated how 83 per cent of leaders did not feel that their organisations were doing enough to warrant sleep, while 36 per cent suggested that getting a good night’s sleep was not a priority within their business.

It is McKinsey’s own promotion of this work-life balance that is perhaps the most surprising, however, as consulting firms are renowned for not being the best place to achieve this. With a great deal of travel involved and employees sometimes working 100-hour weeks, many burn out and seek jobs that offer more stability.

The firm declined to answer when asked whether it had initiated sleep programmes for its employees.

The perception remains that the only companies implementing wellness and sleep within their companies are tech ones; however, with many employees now paying increased attention to detail when it comes to their health, many traditional companies are also noting a change. Flexible work schedules and time off are put in place by consulting firms, for example, to attract workers.

Experts have suggested that this change in workplace culture will begin with senior leaders who allow a focus on sleep. This is why executives at Apple and Netflix are praised when they talk so openly about how important it is to achieve a good work-life balance and the support offered to employees to achieve this. Clear policies that employees can follow need to be implemented, including factors such as holidays and sending emails out of hours.

Speaking about the importance of this issue, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, Josh Bersin, suggests that an example needs to be set by top executives and CEOs and that emails should not be sent at 3am. He also adds that if there are no rules around this, it is quite simply ludicrous.

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