We talk a lot about how important sleep is. How it increases productivity at work, aides creativity, and makes you a nicer person overall. But this knowledge is contrasted by our glorification of overwork. There’s something gratifying about that restorative morning coffee, hastily purchased and drank while still too hot. Getting up early for work is seen as non-negotiable and yet if we go to bed early enough to get the recommended amount of sleep, we miss out on a lot of our free time. This Sleep When I’m Dead attitude has driven us for generations- but it’s changing. Remote work and flexible schedules are becoming the “new normal” and that means better sleep for you.
Remote work, or work done wherever the employee has internet connection, is on the rise. In a survey of hiring managers, they said that up to 38% of their full time staff will be working remotely within the next decade. It’s a direct result of employers realizing that having an employee who has the skill set they are looking for is more important than where they are physically located. With all of the technology available to us, working at the office is no longer always necessary. As of right now, 63% of employers have remote workers.
This is great news for so many reasons. The most obvious being you could work from the beach (if you can get internet connection) or from bed. For years, there have been studies done proving how horrible commutes are. There’s this study showing that long commutes can cause health issues like obesity and high blood pressure. And this one about how long commutes raise your risk of depression, high cholesterol, anxiety, and blood sugar. Not to mention the proof that the longer your commute, the less satisfied you are with your life. Because let’s face it, at the end of a long day and your drive home, the last thing you want to do is exercise or make a full meal. You are much more likely to stop for fast food on your way home before zoning out in front of the TV. The same study also shows that people who commute for more than 45 minutes each way report a lower quality of sleep than those with shorter commutes.
Maybe your job requires you to be in the office. We have some progress there as well. 77% of millennials say that working flexible hours would make them more productive- and that’s been backed up.
It allows employees to work when they feel the sharpest. If you’re a nightowl and work best in the evening but can’t get up before ten, that’s fine. Or if you naturally wake up early but need to get out of the office to pick up kids or work on your sculpture garden, go for it. It helps with commute time as well as your hours will be different from the regular 9-5, easing traffic and helping you get to work or home faster. Having a flexible schedule helps with the ever-important work/life balance we are all trying to create. A flexible schedule gives the employee the power to make decisions based on when they are most productive. So if you need that afternoon nap, schedule it.
And for the employers, there are a ton of benefits to giving your employees a flexible schedule. It reduces employee burnout, raises morale, reduces staff turnover, reduces tardiness and call offs, and increases productivity
With flexible hours and locations becoming the norm, its worth a conversation. Do you struggle to get productive at 8 am but really hit your stride around ten? Would you be more productive if you could work from home rather than in your cubicle, trying to drown out the noise of the office? Talk to your employer about implementing some of these practices. It goes without saying that having the perfect pillow will help your sleep goals as well!
*Just one word of caution before picking out your new business pajamas and settling into the remote way of life. Working from bed, or even your bedroom, can negatively impact your sleep. If your mind associates your bed with work, it will be more difficult to get out of work mode when you’re there. Instead, work from a designated spot outside of the bedroom.