Sleeping At The Office: Yea or Nay?

It’s summer. It’s hot. After those big lunch meetings, sitting outside with potential clients, having a burger or a heavy salad, the natural thing to do is nod off, right?

Maya Dollarhide of LifeWire wrote a piece featured on CNN Money about just this phenomenon found here. More workers are napping at work, and more companies aren’t finding anything wrong with it. What could this do to the workplace?

As employees work increasingly long hours and take their jobs home with them, nap time, once reserved for pre-schoolers and kindergarteners, is making an appearance in the workplace, and receiving mixed reactions. Some say it increases focus, productivity and company loyalty, while others say the opposite – it lowers productivity and ignores the real issue that people aren’t getting enough sleep at night.

Some companies are using nap-areas or sleep stations as recruitment tools, giving employees 20 minutes to doze as a perk. Google Inc. supplies workers with an area to nod off including a specially designed chair to keep out light. Other companies mentioned in Dollarhide’s story offer meditation rooms with inviting couches and lounge chairs on which to rest those lids.

Ultimately, companies cite the need to keep their employees healthy as a reason for such measures. Employers say nap times increase productivity and keep workers focused and alert when they aren’t sleeping. And most employees like the fact that they can leave their desks and take a quick snooze after lunch to refresh for the rest of the workday.

And it makes sense to offer naps. According to a study conducted by health insurer MBF last year in Australia, over 50 percent of workers said they don’t sleep well at night and cited work as the cause. If work is causing employees to lose sleep, it seems natural that companies would offer some sort of restitution – no pun intended.

Despite the seeming benefits of office nap times, as with other company benefits, this could be abused. Instead of a 20-30 minute power-nap, employees could take 2-hour siestas during work hours. This could be overlooked if your employees work 12-hour days, but what if they don’t? And what if those power naps do nothing more than leave workers groggy and wanting more sleep time? That couldn’t possibly be good for productivity.

All in all, employers must look at their individual culture to decide if nap times are right for them. In some situations, it could be a perfect remedy for tired workers.

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