Bob Larson, CPC
Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report
April, 2008 — Issue 98

Workers Suffer from Lack of Sleep

U.S. workers are silently suffering from a dramatic lack of sleep, costing companies billions of dollars in lost productivity, according to a study cited by USA Today. In fact, nearly three in 10 workers have become very sleepy, or even fallen asleep, at work in a monthly period, according to the first-ever study on sleep and the workplace by the non-profit National Sleep Foundation.

“It’s a very expensive issue for employers, and it can be fatal, too,” said Nilesh Dave, medical director of the Sleep and Breathing Disorders Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “The 24/7 global economy means work is now around the clock.”

About 79 million Americans have a problem sleeping, according to the NSF, whose survey sampled 1,000 random workers. Some employers, such as Union Pacific railroad, are so concerned that they’re now allowing workers to nap on the job. Employees also say it’s a significant issue, causing them to drive drowsy or even fall asleep at their desks.

Ursula Forhan, 53, of Chicago, was one of those who used to fall asleep on the job. She was treated for sleep apnea, though, and said she now has no problem. “I would take a nap on the floor of my office, and my boss was so tolerant he would step over me,” Forhan, a paralegal in Chicago, told USA Today. She used to drive to work and had to roll down the windows to stay awake.

Among the survey’s findings:

Dangers on the road. Thirty-six percent of respondents say they have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving, including 26 percent who say they drive drowsy during their workday.

Work performance. Twelve percent of respondents have arrived late to work because of sleepiness. Other problems cited: impatience with others, difficulty concentrating on job tasks and lower productivity.

Work hours. Employees with more than one job report the highest rate of dissatisfaction with sleep: 43 percent say they get a good night’s sleep only a few nights per month or less. Part-time workers report the highest rate of sleep satisfaction.

According to the article, several factors are driving the trend toward sleepier employees. Among them: Employees are putting in longer hours, in part due to increased pressure from employers to ramp up productivity; the study found that one-fourth of respondents have a workday that lasts between eight and nine hours, another fourth say they work up to 10 hours a day.

Technology, which is supposed to enhance productivity, has also required employees to be available. “You’re not disconnecting except when you hit the pillow,” Mark Rosekind, a consultant who worked on the survey, told the newspaper.

News from BLK

On April 1, 2008, on its 28th year anniversary, Berman Larson Kane announced a realignment of services to best meet the economic challenges facing today’s businesses. BLK’s new contract staffing division is an entity dedicated to the sourcing, recruiting and placing of talent for short and long term temporary assignments.

Joanne Ehlermann, PHR, has been promoted to Recruiting Manager, Professional Consulting Division. She leads the team in sourcing professional talent across all disciplines. Throughout her nine years as a Sr. Recruiter, Joanne has managed much of BLK’s HR contract placements. In addition to sourcing Human Resources professionals, Joanne has also recruited sales, information technology and support staff as well. Joanne started her career as a corporate HR generalist.

Marla Magluta has been promoted to Recruiter, Contract Staffing Division. Marla is an eight-year veteran of BLK and started her career as a researcher. She brings expertise in providing contract candidates across a variety of industries, which include logistics, pharmaceutical, entertainment and retail. She has sourced candidates within information technology, accounting and finance and human resources. Marla is the key contact for clients in need of temporary administrative and executive assistance.

Both Joanne and Marla are in the process of completing their CTS certification thru NAPS.