Napping at Work: Why You Should Finally Implement AND Regulate it

by Michael Haberman on April 7, 2016 · 1 comment


Allowing employees to nap has been found to increase productivity.

Allowing employees to nap has been found to increase productivity.

I am a big fan of napping. I have written about napping several times, such as “Yawn”: Lack of Sleep and the Benefit of a Power Nap. This guest post, written by Jared Lichtin, appealed to me and I agreed to publish it. He presents a product that companies like Facebook and Nestle are using. I think you will find the information interesting and helpful.

Increasing productivity

“…a rested, focused staff is productive.”

Executives and human resources departments are scrambling for answers to increase employee productivity and retain talent. In light of this struggle, we try to compensate with technology, streamlining procedures, and firing staff.  Perhaps there is a way to work hard and smart.

Whether you’ve heard it on the news or through the grapevine, sleeping at work is becoming mainstream.  Companies like P&G, Google and Facebook were early adopters. And they did this for one reason – productivity. They know that a rested, focused staff is productive. And because of this, they consistently surpass quarterly projections, retain talent, and innovate faster.

With more employees working longer hours and overcompensating with caffeine, these companies push them to take short naps, allowing them to remain productive afterward.  Research from Harvard Medical School and beyond has proven that a short afternoon nap makes employees more productive and focused. And it works in sync with human biology.

Biological clock

There is a biological clock inside the hypothalamus of the brain.  This orchestrates our circadian rhythm, which dips and rises at different times. So, our strongest sleep drive generally occurs between 2:00-4:00 am and between 1:00-3:00 pm, or the “post lunch dip.”

Sure enough, eating lunch also has a detrimental effect on our energy. When humans eat, the nervous system reroutes blood to the stomach to aid in digestion.  This lowers blood pressure and releases hormones, causing drowsiness.  Combine this with that 1:00 pm circadian dip, and you have an unproductive workforce.

Naps frowned upon

Especially in America, executives frown on the nap. Why though? And why do employees wear their 16-hour work days on their sleeve, like a badge of honor?

It comes down to company culture, and every office has one.  The law firm I worked at probably would have fired me if I slept at my desk, but they allowed employees to take personal phone calls and cigarette breaks.  Seems pretty inconsistent, right? From the top down, these ‘rules’ get set in stone over time.  And deep down, they churn out unhealthy employees that don’t work up to their full potential.

Even the National Institute of Health concluded a study that stated “a post-lunch nap improves alertness, and aspects of mental and physical performance.”

So let’s say you’re sold on trying it.  How do you implement it?  Most offices don’t even have a couch, and many employees sit in cubicles.

The Podtime product

There’s a product manufactured in the UK called ‘Podtime’ and they make the world’s only private, corporate sleep pods. They are sleek, comfortable, and even stackable.   If you open up a new tab check out what else is available.  There’s everything from a basic air mattress all the way up to a $16,000 nap pod.  However, the Podtime pods cost less than a quarter of the expensive ones, and they’re fully private.

The Podtime pods are a spacious environment for work, relaxation, or just a quick nap.  The pods deaden sound, have LED lighting, and even include power outlets.

Not everyone sleeps in the pods either.  Some employees choose to take a mental break, rather than a nap.  They lie down, charge their phone, and listen to music. This brief rest decompresses their spine, lowers stress, and relaxes their eyes.

And implementation is easy.  First, before purchasing them, you should gauge your staff’s interest in the idea.

Send out an email with a link, and include some ground rules.  It could be something as easy as, “Hey everyone, were thinking of implementing sleeping pods into the office for you to take a quick nap… no longer than 20 minutes. This is part of an effort to increase productivity and overall health. Please reply and let me know if you would use this regularly.”  Then, if you get a positive response, you can move forward.

Usually, one pod is enough for 10-12 employees to use throughout the day. So you should seriously hone in on how many will regularly use it.  Once you have the pods in your office, you should set some ground rules.  Set up a sign in sheet, or an electronic ‘clock in/clock out’ application to track use of the pod.  Also, make sure you set the pods in a cool, empty office. Preferably away from the hustle of the kitchen.

Now, after you have installed the pods, do some follow up & survey the office. Does napping increase their alertness, or distract from their work? Do some feel it’s irresponsible to waste time resting, or do others feel it necessary for productivity?

Opinions may be mixed, but Podtime receives resoundingly positive feedback.  Allen Dougherty, Principal Development Scientist at Nestle raves “We have found the pods to be very useful in that they give us a sanctuary when a bit of peace and quiet is needed to think something through.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Podtime, click here to go to the Podtime website.

 

Full Disclosure: This post was a sponsored post but I have no financial interest in the product.


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