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08/06/11 SleepWELL Workshop

If you are considering the impact of health and wellbeing initiatives on your workforce, then look no further for one subject that will be high up on your employees radar in terms of their health and wellbeing:  Sleep.

According to The Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre:

Apart from causing ‘sleepiness’, sleep loss particularly affects the more subtle forms of human behaviour known as higher ‘executive’ function, largely controlled by the prefrontal cortex – a brain region at its most advanced in humans. It is the hardest working part of the cortex during wakefulness – which may be why it seems so vulnerable to sleep loss. Here, sleep loss effects include:

  • rigid thinking,
  • reduced verbal fluency
  • perseveration
  • impaired working memory
  • inability to deal with novelty and the unexpected, and
  • less inhibited social behaviour.

Interestingly, unlike ‘sleepiness’ these deficits show much less of a 24 hour circadian rhythm, but steadily worsen with sleep deprivation. Contemporary ’24/7′ society requires many people to work with sleep loss, whether this be through shift-work, long working hours or simply from late night socialising.

Maybe this is familiar to you to?  Insomnia, it seems, is a common problem.  New research suggests that 26 per cent of those who work in excess of 48 hours a week are sleeping for less than six hours a night.  Benjamin Franklin may have claimed that ‘fatigue was the best pillow’, but the longer the working day, the worse a person’s sleep becomes, in length and quality.

These are the first findings of the Understanding Society study tracking 100,000 people in 40,000 British households. It says that while exhaustion may set in after a week of nine-hour days at the office, the chances of restorative sleep become increasingly elusive. One in ten men (11 per cent) and one in seven women (14 per cent) working 48 hours a week now sleeps less than six hours a night – two hours less than the recommended amount.

Sleep deprivation has many negative health effects, including obesity, hypertension and diabetes. It has been attributed to raising the chances of a woman getting breast cancer by as much as 60 per cent, because melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain during sleep to regulate the body’s internal clock, plays a key role in preventing breast tumours by suppressing the amount of oestrogen that is released.

Lack of sleep can affect your company’s bottom line, research claims that  the sleep deficit also contributes to productivity slumps, caused by sickness absence and accidents. The current sleep shortfall is estimated to cost employers eight million sick days a year, compared with just over three million in 2008.

It seems the issue here is work life balance.  If we can encourage employees to have an enjoyable life outside of work then we will find the reduced hours they are at work will be more productive and focussed, why?  Because this will lead to healthy sleep.  Okay, this isn’t the only thing we have up our sleeve, we cover many aspects of sleep in our interactive workshop:



By the end of the workshop delegates will have a good understanding of why we sleep, what is normal, the miriad of sleep problems and some solutions, the workshop is interactive and will have you wide awake with ideas for your new sleep routine… and a dreamy bag of tricks and tips for those difficult nights – no more counting sheep!

If you would like to book our 90 minute workshop for your employees, please get in touch.

08/06/11 Health Promotion – Let’s get creative – Part II

Create a Great Environment.

Does your office need a brighten up?  It may not be plausible for all companies to turn their workplaces into the fun filled quirky habitats housing the likes of google and Twitter but a few innovative ideas don’t have to cost a fortune and, along with employee suggestion, could greatly assist in helping employee wellbeing and ensuring your staff feel good about spending their hours with you.

A recent article in the Stylist magazine explained how a personalised office has been shown to significantly improve productivity and staff’s mental well-being, and here is the key again – provided that the staff help to decide how they are arranged.

Professor Haslam of the university of Exeter undertook a study about the correlation between office morale and office layouts, he explains:

‘We found that while an attractive environment increases worker productivity, even more critical is employee autonomy…we think that when people feel uncomfortable in their surroundings, they are less engaged.’

Here are some things we have found on our travels which may be inspiring, don’t forget though, the most creative asset you have is your employees – set up a suggestion box or a graffiti wall and encourage employees to get flowing with ideas, clearly you will have a few crazy ideas, but don’t dismiss them, talk about them and implement a few!

  • Employee Relaxation Room (can be used for employees who are feeling unwell, those who have to breast feed, simply getting away – have some inspiring books and magazines, suitable lighting, a couch/soft or comfortable chairs, some blankets.
  • Changing Lights – coloured lights are good for our mood and can help make a creative environment
  • Utilise outside space – if you are lucky enough to have it, make the most of it, not just for smokers, fresh air breaks are vital for everyone!
  • Vedge growing tubs – call on us to set these little beauties up in your office, a wide range of herbs, peppers, chillies, employees will have to care for them and can take them home for tea.
  • Music pods – creating a space where people can escape to listen to music (of choice) can help to re-energize your workforce.
  • Themed meeting rooms – we love these – take a look at the pictures for inspiration.
  • Employee suggestion box/graffiti wall for free expression (don’t be frightened of how people actually think/feel!)

Selgas Cano

Selgas Cano inside!



Cartoon Network

Inside Cartoon Network

Outside at Google

Google Meetings

Lego offices


Paollota teamworks

We hope you have enjoyed and been inspired by the pictures, if you have any ideas for creating a great work environment do get in touch.