As an employer, your staff are your greatest asset. And it's your responsibility to ensure they're comfortable and safe at work. And that includes helping your teams to handle the work-life balance and switch off once the day’s duties are over.
After all, it's easy to blur the boundaries between home and office, which can increase stress and cause sleep deprivation. In turn, lack of sleep impacts critical cognitive function and impairs problem-solving skills, judgement and productivity.
So how do you combat this cycle? Here are some tips to share with your team to help them switch off after work and get a good night’s sleep.
Using display screen equipment (DSE) can cause backache, upper limb problems, eye strain and fatigue. In addition, the blue light emitted by tablets, smartphones and computer screens can suppress melatonin levels, making it difficult to sleep. If you’ve ever stayed up late scrolling on your phone (we all have), you’ll know that this can have a massive impact on your sleep.
Although some levels of job stress are unavoidable, lack of sleep costs the UK economy £40billion, with 200,000 working days lost yearly.
Fortunately, practising these simple strategies can help the mental transition between work and home and promote the sleep quality you and your team need.
If you're working remotely, it's essential to separate your workstation and relaxation space for better sleep. Otherwise, your work and home life can still impact each other.
Separating personal and professional increases productivity, lowers stress and increases health and wellbeing. Establish rules with colleagues around availability and replying to emails outside work hours. Reduce the time you spend in unproductive Zoom meetings and start tracking your work-life balance.
It might seem odd if you don’t wear a ‘uniform’ as such, but changing out of workwear is an important stage in the work-to-home transition. So, as soon as you walk through the door or step away from your desk, dress in something more comfortable. This simple habit can help you transition from a work mindset to relaxation.
Good nutrition can play an essential role in sleep quality. For example, foods rich in lycopene, carbohydrates and vitamin C could help you sleep better and longer.
Cooking dinner can also help you unwind after a stressful workday. For example, you won't be looking at your emails while prepping dinner. As an employer, you could organise a nutrition workshop to ensure your teams are getting the nutrients they need for better sleep hygiene.
Developing a bedtime routine is another effective way to deal with work stressors and improve sleep. For example, you could practice self-care with a nightly skincare routine that helps you wind down before bedtime by metaphorically cleaning away the stress of the day.
A post-work workout is a proven way to leave behind the stress of the office. Any activity, including low-impact yoga, stretching, or pilates, can help clear the head and help you unwind. And as little as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise has been shown to help people fall asleep faster.
Try planning your workout in the morning so your clothes and equipment are ready for you when you get home.
Writing out your thoughts and feelings can help you process your emotions, reducing anxiety and stress. So invest in a journal and pen for your nightly brain dumps.
Studies have also found that including positive elements of your day and practising gratitude can help you get a better night's sleep.
On a similar note, scheduling time with friends is one of the best ways to switch off after a day's work. Even something as simple as having a casual chat can help to decrease stress levels and distract from work-based anxiety.
Try factoring in walking throughout your day. For example, if you work from home, a short stroll can mimic the feeling of a commute in the morning. And if you already travel to work, walk to the next furthest bus stop or station on the way home.
Walking can distance you from the work environment throughout the day, allowing you to practice mindfulness. And it's an excellent way to start the transition between day and evening.
Workplace mindfulness has proven benefits when workplace anxiety keeps you awake at night. For example, one study found that just ten minutes of mindful meditation before and after work improved sleep quality and duration.
A workplace mindfulness workshop can help your teams to embrace the proven benefits.
Reading before bed has been shown to reduce stress by up to 68%. It gives you a break from screen time (and the chance to get lost in a story) so the natural melatonin surge can take effect. And just twenty minutes with a good book can also improve cognitive function and increase creativity.
Managing stress and improving wellness in the workplace benefits you and your teams. For a better work-life balance, take a look at our wellbeing services.
At Workhappy, we’re here to support DSE workers in all areas of health and wellbeing. From DSE assessments and nutrition workshops to improve physical health and comfort to workplace mindfulness and desk massage to promote all-round wellbeing, we’ll help your workforce cope better with stress and get a good night's sleep.
For more information, please fee free to get in touch with the Workhappy team today.