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Question

Case Study: Frustrated at age of 30

Although the recession has been receding for several years now, many U.S. workers still feel pushed to the limit as they work long hours. 

One consequence is that sleep has taken a back seat to other matters deemed more important. But rather than tread through the workday in a zombie-like, sleep-deprived state, some workers are turning to secret 'power naps' in order to recharge. For example, Ronit Rogosziniski, a 45-year-old financial planner, wakes up at 5 a.m. each day, works, and at noon sneaks to her car for a quick snooze. She is not alone, as evidenced by the comments on Wall Street Oasis, a website frequently visited by investment bankers who blog about their travails. Their advice? When power-napping on a toilet, put the seat down and keep your pants up, 'for maximum comfort.' 

Though the thought of an investment banker napping on a toilet in a power suit might be amusing, many believe lack of sleep is no laughing matter. Research examining the effects of sleep deprivation has found that tired workers experience higher levels of back pain, depression, and job dissatisfaction, along with lower levels of performance. Losing even an hour of sleep as a result of the shift to daylight savings time is enough to prompt higher levels of cyberloafing.

Some companies are paying attention to the costs associated with sleep deprivation and are encouraging napping at work. One survey of 600 companies conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 6 percent had dedicated nap rooms in 2011. In addition, a poll of 1,508 workers conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 34 percent said they were allowed to nap at work.

Question 1: Should organizations be concerned about their employees being sleep-deprived? What factors influencing sleep might be more or less under the control of an organization?

Question 2: How might reinforcement theory play a role in the extent to which employees are sleep-deprived? 

Question 3: How might sleep deprivation influence aspects of expectancy theory? How might the incorporation of 'nap rooms' for sleep-deprived employees influence aspects of equity theory?

Question 4: If you were a manager who noticed your employees were sleep-deprived, what steps might you take to help them? What theories of motivation could you use to help them?

Solution

Employees being sleep deprived is a serious concern in today's corporate world. Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues and negatively impact the productivity of employees. As a manager, if I notice that my employees are sleep deprived, I would first try to understand the root cause. If the root cause is due to long hours in the office, I would try to ensure that the workload is equally divided within the team so that few members of the team are not overstretched. If the root cause is due to the fact that employees are stressed, I would take steps to ensure that the employees are de-stressed by rolling out periodic fun activities which would allow the employees to de-stress. 

I would try to motivate the employees to have a work-life balance and having a healthy lifestyle. I would use the below motivation theories to help the employees:

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Cognitive Evaluation Theory

There are two motivation systems in cognitive evaluation theory i.e. extrinsic and intrinsic which refers to two types of motivators.  Achievements, competence and responsibility that come from the intrinsic interest of the task are called intrinsic motivators. The pay, feedback, payment, working conditions that come from the environment of a person which is controlled by another person is called extrinsic motivators (Maehr,et al., 1997).  The employees should be appreciated and they should be made to feel that they have contributed to the growth of the organization. Employees should be given good training which would help them to effectively discharge their duties and improve productivity. The working environment of the employees could be improved by ensuring that there is no undue pressure and there are informal events in the office periodically.

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