Crocodiles, bottlenose dolphins and other aquatic mammals are not the only ones who can be literally half asleep. Research shows we experience this, too.
A person is either asleep as characterized by slow-wave activity or awake but not simultaneously. Yet some birds and aquatic mammals display the remarkable phenomenon of unihemispheric slow-wave sleep: one half of their brain is awake, including an open eye, and the other half shows the electrical signatures of sleep. In humans it is known as the unihemispheric sleep disorder.
Although it is most likely a protective mechanism, enabling the animal to fly or swim and monitor its environment for threats with one hemisphere while the other gets some rest. But this phenomenon seems terrifying for managers and employers if a good proportion of their own staff are sitting in their office with only half their brain functioning keeping an eye on anyone catching them out.
It was reported that more than half of Singapore businesses have staff who are physically present but "mentally absent" from their job which would give any employer or manager heebie-jeebies.
It is time to truly engage your employees if they are suffering from this unihemispheric sleep disorder. Help them to perform at their best and not let them pass their days at work in some zombie like state. Here are 5 simple ways to address this:
- Alertness: Alertness is all about helping people to be present in the moment. Not thinking about before or after; about could have happened or might happen. An alert mind in your business can return a seriously impressive ROI. There are various alertness techniques that employers can offer to their employees in order to get back productivity and interest in their work.
- Working ambience: The physical working conditions really impact one's productivity. The rise of corporate culture of working for 8 hours where employees are tied to their stations has also contributed to the increase of half-awake brain at work. This needs to be nip in the bud by restricting working hours and communicating to your employees to take breaks often in between their work.
- Interacting more with employees: Emailing is not always a solution of managing. Take the time to talk with your staff face-to-face to give and receive feedback.
- Flexible working: Giving your employees the benefit of flexible working will give them the chance to concentrate on delivery rather than timetables. Spending hours in the office do not equal to hours of productivity. And with the rise and ease of technology, you can stay in touch at chosen times with colleagues and clients at a distance.
- Adventures: Take your staff on adventures out of the office. We all talk about Return On Investment (ROI), but how about Return On Adventure (ROA)? To build a great team; creativity, respect and a culture of working with each other require shared experiences. Adventures seem to be a great analogy for the uncertain times we all live in which will inturn prepare staff to face the stressful work challenges they all face from time to time.
A lot of time and money is invested by the employer to recruit talent. Another lump sum amount of time is spent in their training. So beware of the crocodiles who lurk in your office to avoid drain down of your company’s productivity.