Sleep professionals have heard about the trucking industry ad nauseum. Meanwhile, members of the general public also care about truckers because they justifiably fear sleepy drivers guiding multi-ton vehicles on the nation’s highways.
There is undeniable opportunity in the trucking industry, but a once promising landscape has been muddied a bit by the powerful trucking lobby that will make official rulemaking about sleep apnea increasingly difficult. Beyond the realm of trucking, boating, flying, and various transportation industry jobs, is a largely uncharted territory of corporate America.
No one will die in mangled wreckage if an accountant does his job poorly, but the consequences of an error-riddled audit could add up to dollars lost on the bottom line. Poor sleep affects every job, and every job adds up to a massive pool of opportunity.
How best to tap into that opportunity is the question on the minds of sleep lab directors and sleep physicians throughout the country. The consequences of poor performance for employees in the nation’s corporations is not insignificant, and the right marketing pitch could add up to lucrative referral streams flowing from the cubicles of America.
Research companies call them “health and productivity strategies” or “outcome-based incentive and engagement programs.” In the wake of the Affordable Care Act, the shape of such programs is still in doubt, but possible models could include on-site/near-site primary care delivery—perhaps even sleep tests administered right there at the office work site.
If such programs are covered as a benefit and/or perk, employee response could well be positive. After all, employees are used to cost-cutting measures that inevitably reduce benefits. Adding a “better sleep program,” to existing employee wellness packages could reverse the trend—leading to increased loyalty or even helping to attract better talent.
Industry innovators believe the key to convincing managers to make such an investment is to convince them that better sleep equals increased productivity. With new studies coming out virtually every week linking sleep to countless comorbidities, such an equation is entirely accurate.
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