Still trying to convince the decision makers that fatigue needs to be managed?

convince the boss

If your decision makers are still not buying into the link between fatigue and safety or health costs, try an economic argument.  A recent study by the RAND Corporation estimates that Canadians who do not satisfy their biological sleep needs are costing the economy 21.4 billion dollars annually by missing days of work (absenteeism) or by performing at lower efficiency when at work (presenteeism)[1].

If you consider that 18 million people are employed in Canada[2] and that about 7% (1.26 million) of those workers are not getting enough sleep[1], it means that one insufficient sleeper is costing the economy $16,984.13 every year.

Let’s put this into perspective. In a company of 50 people, there are likely at least 3 insufficient sleepers costing that company a total of $50,952.39 annually. The question then becomes, can the company realize a return on investment by addressing the insufficient sleepers? In other words, how much would it cost to get these 3 people better sleep?

I would argue that it would not cost anywhere near $50,000 to identify the insufficient sleepers and provide a solution. For example, a simple sleep problem screening tool would cost about 20 cents per copy. That’s a whopping $10.00 for a company of 50 people. Maybe factor in another $1.00 per person to mail the screener to them and now we are at a total of $60.00. Or better yet, use a free quiz tool like Survey Monkey or Google Forms to create and circulate an electronic screening tool via company email.

One of the amazing things about Canada is our healthcare system. All 3 of the insufficient sleepers identified by the sleep problem screening tool can be treated by our healthcare system without any cost to the company.

There you have it, an investment of $60.00 to reap a $50,952.39 return in only one year. That’s an 84,820.65% ROI that keeps paying year after year!


[1] Hafner, M., Stepanek, M., Taylor, J., Troxel, W., & Van Stolk, C. (2016). Why sleep matters — the economic costs of insufficient sleep: A cross-country comparative analysis. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation,

[2] 18 Million employed, see: