Did you know that in France employees are allowed to ignore emails sent outside of working hours? Or that the state of New York is considering adopting a law that protects employee’s “right to disconnect?” (Thanks, Business Insider!) What are your company’s policies on after work emails? What is your behavior signaling?
You can’t tuck your employees in at night, but there are things you can do throughout the day that will improve the way your employees sleep. Consider committing to adopting one of these ideas in the next two weeks:
Address expectations when it comes to emails and phone calls after work hours
If you set the example that you work at all hours of the night, you may inadvertently be setting the same expectation for employees. While in some cases, it might be the reality of the position, be sure to talk to your team about email habits. Maybe you let them know you are a night owl, but that your expectation is a 24-hour response time. Or if you’re trying to encourage someone to change the unintentional messages their late night emails are sending, consider showing them how to schedule emails using delayed send (instructions vary based on email service).
Take 5 minutes out of your team meeting to practice meditation
Thinking about work or reading a late-night email can make employees restless at night. Why not provide your workforce with a tool they can use at home and in the office? The health and psychological benefits of mindfulness meditation are well documented. At the least, consider sharing a list of free and paid meditation apps like this list from Forbes.
Encourage Sunshine Breaks
While this may seem like a suggestion straight out of Elle Wood’s mouth, it’s not. We know that getting up and taking breaks through your workday is good for productivity, but taking that break outside might even help you sleep better. This study found that employees with more natural white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night.
Enable your technology to better adjust for the night shift
Smartphones, tablets, and laptop screens are all guilty of emitting “blue light”. While blue light enables us to see our screens clearly, it also keeps us up at night by messing with our body’s circadian rhythm. When setting up your workforce with technology, ensure the “night shift” mode is enabled. If your workforce already has their electronics, let them know how they can enable “night-mode” by themselves.
Schedule shift workers in a clockwise fashion
Similar to how jetlag can feel worse when traveling from west to east, having an unpredictable schedule or one in a counterclockwise direction can greatly impact an employee’s ability to sleep. UCLA Health recommends rotating shifts in a clockwise fashion if your staff works multiples shifts (day shift > evening shift > night shift > morning shift > day shift.