Canadian HR Reporter

January 23, 2017

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER January 23, 2017 NEWS 3 And the award goes to… Nominate a colleague whose contributions deserve your recognition. 2017 AWARD OF EXCELLENCE Celebrate an unsung HR champion — recognize someone who brings innovative thinking, people-driven strategy, and true business value to their organization with a nomination for their outstanding work. Nominations are open to any CHRP, CHRL or CHRE in good standing. The nomination process is simple, find out how at: Lack of sleep costing economy $21.4 billion or 80,000 workdays: Study Cellphones, long commutes, poor habits contributing to lower productivity BY JOHN DUJAY A lack of sleep is costing the Ca- nadian economy dearly by taking a $21.4-billion or 1.35 per cent bite out of the GDP, according to a study — resulting in the loss of 80,000 workdays each year. But if more workers began sleeping at least six to seven hours at night, another $12 billion could be added to the economic output, found the year-long study by re- search firm RAND, based on a 2013 representative survey by the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C., with numbers extrapolated for Canada. Workers averaging less than six hours of sleep have a 13 per cent greater chance of mortality risk over someone who gets between seven and nine hours of sleep, said the report. "Studies show you are more likely to have a car accident if you are sleep-deprived, or you might develop, over time, diseases such as cancer, stroke, diabetes," said Marco Hafner, lead researcher at RAND in Cambridge, U.K. Six hours of sleep or less each night is when negative effects ap- pear with most workers' health, according to experts. "Most humans require in the range of seven to nine hours of sleep to be fully rested and pre- pared to function appropriately the following day," said Charles Samuels, medical director at the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary, adding 30 per cent of North Americans aren't getting enough downtime each night. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis adds up to a sleep "debt" that can only be cured by a person getting more sleep, he said. "What research in sleep depri- vation has demonstrated is that even one hour of sleep debt per night, cumulatively, can result in cognitive impairment the fol- lowing day, which would include things such as daytime sleepiness, which could impair their driving, poor concentration, poor mem- ory and irritability or changes in behaviour." Sleep debt leads to a down- grade in a worker's productive capacity, according to Jessica Hutcheson, head of HR and fa- cilities at Fatigue Science in Van- couver, which uses a sleep tracker to monitor a person's sleep func- tioning and provide a reading on a one-to-100 scale. "If you are not getting enough sleep, that means you aren't func- tioning cognitively at your peak," she said. Even a small change in a com- pany's sleep scale can translate to a difference in performance: At 90, a person suffers an 11 per cent change in reaction time, said Hutcheson, and at 77, there is a 30 per cent drop. is is equivalent to a person having a 0.05 blood alcohol level. "It compounds over time. It gets worse every time you deprive your body of sleep," she said. "If you are running consistently on six hours of sleep at night, you probably think that you feel fine because you start to normalize." Several reasons behind fatigue Work stress and home-life factors are the two biggest reasons work- ers lack sleep, according to a 2016 study by the Conference Board of Canada. "If you have a child living in your household under the age of 18, you're more likely to have lack of sleep or feelings of fatigue than those without," said Charles Boyer, research associate at the Conference Board. One-quarter (27 per cent) of employees report to work tired most days or every day, and 42 per cent indicated productivity and job performance are somewhat or significantly worse on the days they were tired, found the survey of 739 employees. "e harmful effects of fatigue are numerous and, in some cases, comparable to the effects of al- cohol," said Mary-Lou MacDon- ald, director of workplace health, wellness and safety research at the Conference Board. "Employers that proactively ad- dress their employees' fatigue will have a more productive workforce ENLIGHTEN > pg. 9 "Even one hour of sleep debt can result in cognitive impairment."

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