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The impact of an employee’s state of mind on performance at work

13 December 2021
New research from Jakob Stollberger - Associate Professor in Organizational Behavior - proves that a lack of sleep negatively affects daily work performance by reducing one’s willpower and motivational resources. However, the research finds that this can be overcome by an employee’s state of mind.

According to the study, believing that your willpower is unlimited helps you to sustain your effectiveness at work particularly on days with a lack of sleep. The study reports two daily diary studies with a combined sample of 214 employees and 1317 workdays.

Stollberger: “Although it is well-known that sufficient sleep is crucial for a productive day at work, it is less clear how a bad night’s sleep affects employee effectiveness and what can be done about it. On the one hand, our data demonstrates that a lack of sleep reduces the availability of a variety of psychological resources, including resources for willpower, as well as emotional -, and motivational resources that sustain employee effectiveness. On the other hand, the data also suggest that employees’ mindset about whether willpower is limited or limitless has a strong impact on employee performance particularly on days with a lack of sleep. Believing that your willpower is unlimited can compensate for a bad night’s sleep and fuel a productive working day.”

The paper, entitled “The Role of Regulatory, Affective, and Motivational Resources in the Adverse Spillover of Sleep in the Home Domain to Employee Effectiveness in the Work Domain”, was written with colleagues from Trinity College Dublin, University of Wuppertal, and Aston University and can be read in full here.