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Exhausted at work … the new workplace epidemic?

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Exhausted at work … the new workplace epidemic?

Seven in 10 work while tired; nearly 30% say it leads to mistakes.

It's time for a wake-up call: Nearly three-quarters (74%) of US workers say they work while tired, with nearly one-third saying they do so very often, according to a new survey by staffing firm Accountemps. The costs of working tired – both for professionals and the businesses they work for – are high: Respondents cite lack of focus or being easily distracted (52%), procrastinating more (47%), being grumpy (38%) and making more mistakes (29%) among the consequences.

Work may not be the only issue keeping people up at night, but it's critical for managers to take action. "There is no upside to having an exhausted team at work," said Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps. "Talk to your employees individually to come up with solutions."

Driscoll noted that these discussions can yield a number of ideas to help remedy the situation. "Offering a more flexible schedule may alleviate long and costly commutes. Bringing temporary staff on board may cut down on working after-hours. Reorganizing current priorities may lead to more manageable workloads."

Driscoll added, "Failing to take action can lead to big problems such as burnout, turnover and a negative corporate culture, along with lost sales and productivity."

Additional points from the Accountemps survey:

  • Younger workers might be burning the midnight oil. Eighty-six percent of professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 admitted to being sleepy at work often, compared to 71% of workers ages 35 to 54 and only 50% of respondents ages 55 and older. Slightly more men than women said they often work while tired.
  • Fifty-five percent of workers said they would use a nap room if their employer offered one. Two percent said their employer already provides a nap room and they take advantage of it.Thirty-three percent of workers who said they would not take advantage of a nap room cited the following reasons: It might make them sleepier (46%), they don't want to be perceived as a slacker (35%), and they worry about not getting their work done (34%).
  • Thirty-three percent of workers who said they would not take advantage of a nap room cited the following reasons: It might make them sleepier (46%), they don't want to be perceived as a slacker (35%), and they worry about not getting their work done (34%).

    Professionals admitted to – or heard of others – making the following mistakes due to being tired on the job:

  • Made a $20,000 mistake on a purchase order
  • Deleted a project that took 1,000 hours to put together
  • Accidentally reformatted a server
  • Fell asleep in front of the boss during a presentation
  • Missed a decimal point on an estimated payment and the client overpaid by $1 million
  • Accidentally paid everyone twice
  • Talked about a client thinking the phone was on mute … it wasn't
  • Ordered 500 more computers than were needed

 

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