Sleep-starved Thais struggle to juggle family, work commitments, study finds
A fifth of workers in Bangkok (21 per cent) report that they have to sacrifice sleep to fit in personal and work commitments, either by waking up too early or by burning the midnight oil.
Although flexible working conditions are highlighted as a way to reduce commuting, creating more hours in the day for sleep or family life and improving productivity and staff retention, only 52 per cent of Bangkok firms are rewarding management for encouraging the creation of a flexible workforce.
Bangkok workers also highlight that a shorter commute (26 per cent) and greater flexibility of location (10 per cent) would give them more time to spend with their families as well as to catch some extra shuteye, but businesses can also benefit from introducing greater flexibility, which is reported to improve productivity (67 per cent) and help retain staff (79 per cent).
These are some of the key findings of a global survey by Regus, the world's largest provider of flexible workplaces, based on interviews with more than 24,000 businesspeople in more than 90 countries last September. Commissioned by Regus, the survey was managed and administered by the independent organisation MindMetre.
"Lack of sleep is clearly detrimental to worker health and happiness, with long working hours closely linked to heart disease," said John Henderson, Asia-Pacific regional director at Regus.
"Respondents highlight that a shorter commute and more flexibility over work location would help them spend more time with their families, finally spelling an end to sleepless nights filled with catching up on work or personal tasks that couldn't be squeezed into the day."
Globally, 29 per cent of workers are sleeping less than they wish to fit in all of their commitments.
In the Philippines, 25 per cent of workers are sacrificing sleep to fit in work and personal commitments, while a fifth (19 per cent) feel they have to overcompensate for time taken off for personal matters.
Workers worldwide highlight a shorter commute (29 per cent on average) and location flexibility (30 per cent) as ways of helping them spend more time with their families.
But businesses can benefit too, as flexible work is thought to improve productivity (75 per cent) and help staff retention (82 per cent).
Currently management is being rewarded for encouraging a flexible work environment in 58 per cent of firms.
"This survey shows that allowing employees to work closer to home in professional and fully efficient environments can have an important impact on family life and provide workers with a few more minutes' kip each morning," Henderson said. "But the benefits are not just for workers, and firms can also improve productivity and retention by introducing flexible working.
"Yet in spite of the win-win benefits that flexible working can bring on both employee and company side, there is evidently still plenty of ground for improvement, as almost half of Thai firms do not recognise or reward managers for encouraging the creation of a flexible workforce."