Do sleep-deprived office workers affect profits? They may not be behind the wheels of multi-ton trucks, but sleepy workers who affect the bottom line are fast becoming a concern as modern medicine heads into 2014.
The largely uncharted territory of corporate America is looking for an edge, and reducing instances of sleep apnea could give them that extra push. No one will die in mangled wreckage if an accountant does his job poorly, but the consequences of an error-riddled audit could add up to dollars lost on the bottom line. Poor sleep affects every job, and every job adds up to a massive pool of opportunity.
How best to tap into that opportunity is the question on the minds of sleep lab directors and sleep physicians throughout the country. The consequences of poor performance for employees in the nation’s corporations is not insignificant, and the right marketing pitch could add up to lucrative referral streams flowing from the cubicles of America.
Research companies call them “wellness programs” or “outcome-based incentive and engagement programs.” In the wake of the Affordable Care Act, the shape of such programs is still in doubt, but possible models could include on-site/near-site primary care delivery—perhaps even sleep tests administered right there at the office work site. Many companies would be willing to pay out of pocket if long term benefits could be proven.
If such programs are covered as a benefit and/or perk, employee response could well be positive. After all, employees are used to cost-cutting measures that inevitably reduce benefits. Adding a “better sleep program,” to existing employee wellness packages could reverse the trend—leading to increased loyalty or even helping to attract better talent.
Industry innovators believe the key to convincing managers to make such an investment is to convince them that better sleep equals increased productivity. With new studies coming out virtually every week linking sleep to countless comorbidities, such an equation is entirely accurate.