How to wake up a sleepy workforce. Ahh – but why would you want to when the resulting pictures are so funny?

Who could forget the intern who fell asleep at his desk on his first day and posted the resulting photo on Reddit, garnering thousands of spin off photos? (He wasn’t fired.)

Or the colleague getting some much-needed rest who was surprised to see company founder Richard Branson looming over him

Or the other intern who fell asleep. Again, the internet got to work helping him blend in

Our sleep and work lives are tied together. We all moan about our lack of sleep. Let’s not forget that Google has their infamous ‘nap pods’ – which are in actual fact ‘EnergyPods’ created by MetroNaps. which uses NASA science to help people get their energy back by letting them shut out any external stimulus, letting them doze in the optimum resting position to provide maximum blood flow throughout their body.

Sleepiness at work affects us all some times, but whilst naturally hilarious in small doses, could this be a chronic problem?

66% of workers knackered

A new study has shown that almost two-thirds (66%) of UK workers claim tiredness negatively impacts on productivity at work and that more than a third (36%) of workers are struggling to get a good night’s sleep because of their job.

Another study hints that one in 6 people fall asleep at their desk ‘once a week‘ – which we hope wasn’t taken at Air Traffic Control.

Bear in mind that in America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called a lack of sleep ‘an epidemic,’ linking it to car crashes, industrial disasters and other occupational errors.

Employers have to be more attuned to the needs of their workers

Despite 65% of workers saying tiredness has become a bigger workplace problem over the past five years, WTW’s research revealed that just 17% of employers proactively educate their employees on the effect of sleep on general wellbeing.

Blake said employee-focused health and wellbeing programmes can help companies address the growing issue of fatigue at work.

“Employers who become more attuned to the needs of their workers outside the office are more likely to retain a happy and healthy employee base,” he added.

“Companies should aim to identify and tackle potential issues before they become a problem. Open dialogue is key to establishing a positive workplace culture that addresses and mitigates stress and fatigue.

This will allow managers to identify dips in productivity and tackle the root causes before more serious issues arise, such as absenteeism and presenteeism.

“By placing an emphasis on the importance of sufficient sleep, workers will also feel more comfortable approaching managers about fatigue and solutions can be found, such as meditative practices, review of workloads or flexible working hours.

Fatigue will become a more prevalent and serious workplace issue

Speaking about the new research, Mike Blake, a director at Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits, said: “The work environment is no longer confined to the office, with the stress of heavy workloads creeping into home life.

“Whilst companies may benefit from a perceived ‘increase’ in productivity in the short-term, ongoing stress, coupled with a lack of sleep, can risk having an overall negative impact on operational performance.

“And the launch of the worldwide sleep study is a clear indicator that fatigue will become a more prevalent and serious workplace issue that employers can ill afford to ignore.”

How to wake up a sleepy workforce

Offer nap spaces

It’s not just Google, but Nike, Ben and Jerrys and Hubspot offering sleep areas. There are a number of options, including meeting rooms and this could really help people get back to work with a bang!

Remove stress

Of the respondents who struggled to nod off, more than half cited difficulty in winding down after a stressful day at the office as the main reason for sleeplessness (55%), followed by job worries (45%), early starts (41%) and late-night working (35%). How can you build a more realistic schedule?

Natural light is key 

Those glaring tubes aren’t just bad for selfies, they can be bad for the quality of life. A study showed that natural light boosts productivity.

Promote breaks

Don’t make an army of workhorses. Encourage people to take a break, to get away from the computer and step out of the office.

Offer water and tea on tap 

It’s not much effort to install a few more water coolers or to grab a few bulk packs of herbal teas.

Invest in standing desks

We’ve had under desk cycles and bouncing gym balls, but standing desks are ideal for keeping people alert and awake.