Employers are being called on to help curb workers’ screen time following findings that 'every part' of the UK has experienced disrupted sleep due to artificial light over the past year.
The call comes as workers are spending more time in front of multiple screens due to an increase in conference calls, streaming and remote working. This is despite blue light exposure being linked to sleep disruption, poor focus, impaired decision-making and strained eyesight.
Recent figures show the average person picks up their phone 58 times a day - with nearly half (48%) of these being outside of working hours. UK workers have also seen a 76% increase in screen time during the pandemic.
The WakeUpWell study, conducted by Blinds Direct analysed light pollution levels, sun hours and mean temperatures in key locations to establish which parts of the UK experience the lowest quality of sleep.
The report finds that the onus is on employers to ensure employees limit this disruptive blue light exposure to improve sleep quality and prioritise a better work/life balance.
David Lynch, from tech solutions advisrory company Payette Forward, said: “Employers should understand that humans are not robots. It's not realistic to expect your employees to stare at their computer screens for eight hours straight.
“Employers need to encourage workers to take routine breaks for their health and well-being as employees will be more focused and productive.”
Katherine Hall, leading UK sleep psychologist, said that a strict work-from-home routine is crucial - particularly as Brits start returning to the office. She said: “If you have been routinely waking up slightly later since working from home, you may find waking up slightly earlier more difficult.
“With more and more people working from home during the pandemic, the line between ‘work’ and ‘home’ has become a lot blurrier. This may have led to excessive time spent in front of your phone, delaying sleep and impacting sleep quality.”
Thomas Croft, HR manager at Blinds Direct, said: “The study has made it evident that it’s not easy to get a good night’s sleep regardless of where you live or what you do for a living, as all cities and regions are exposed to high levels of light pollution.
“With an imminent return to pre-pandemic life, and people returning to work after a long period of working from home, it’s crucial that we prioritise our sleep schedule and ensure our homes are conducive to a high quality of sleep. Whether it’s by investing in blackout blinds, or a new mattress; or limiting screen time.”
To see the full results of the analysis visit the #WakeUpWell study here.