Only the worst employees used to ever dare nod off on the job. It was not only taboo but seen as lazy. Suddenly, that is changing. Many innovative companies are installing napping pods or rooms dedicated to resting in their corporate offices. Others are implementing snoozing hours, prohibiting working during designated hours.
Perhaps this new trend is a reaction to the many successful individuals who are constantly humble-bragging about how little sleep they get, or how early they wake up. One executive who values her sleep is Arianna Huffington who wrote a booked called “The Sleep Revolution” after collapsing from exhaustion nearly a decade ago. She is on a mission with Thrive Global to spread a message about the importance of sleep and to stop executives from equating sleep with weakness.
It is not just top executives who feel the power to keep working and power through. In 1942, the average adult slept nearly 8 hours, now most are clocking a little more than 6 hours. Due to our constant work and connectivity, many believe we are now globally sleep-deprived.
A lack of sleep is often one of the leading causing of workplace burnout. Studies show that lack of sleep costs employers in the United States nearly $63 billion in lost productivity and 29 percent of workers report feeling sleepy at work. Even a nap under a half an hour has been proven to boost awareness and improve productivity.
Insufficient sleep can also cause serious damage to your well-being, and innovative companies recognize this. Google is one of the leaders in this realm and was one of the first corporations to install high-tech napping pods in their offices. These sleeping chambers create an ideal environment for sleep with built-in meditation music and ambient lighting.
There are many other companies who also view sleep as a part of their overall corporate wellness policies and have created work environments that encourage short naps. One such company is Ben & Jerry’s. They have not only provided rooms with sheeted beds and pillows for sleeping to employees for over a decade, they also supply personal trainers and host on-site yoga classes. This is done to promote a better work-life balance and a meditative lifestyle.
Procter & Gamble is another innovative company that is embracing corporate nap time. They have also installed special lights in their offices that produce the sleep hormone melatonin. This helps regulate employees sleeping patterns as the work day comes to an end. Zappos also has had a nap room at their headquarters since they launched. Their room is furnished with beanbag chairs, recliners and a couch for a variety of napping options.
Athletic brand Nike is another company that is committed to its employee’s health and wellness. Their headquarters offer napping and meditation options for employees throughout the workday. This along with their quiet rooms is said to promote overall wellness. Employees enjoy these perks and feel more valued by their employers.
For companies implementing these work-approved naps, the benefits to the employers go beyond happy, well-rested employees. Just as NASA recognized in the 1990s that astronauts performed better after taking 20-minute naps during their workday, so have other industries. Today, it is common for airlines to mandate a NASA-style nap for all of their pilots.
At the Huffington Post headquarters in New York City, this concept is paramount to productivity. Their corporate policy allows employees to book spaces designed for napping through a reservations system. On the job, napping is popular that their reservations are often booked out well in advance.
Even some smaller businesses are starting to see the benefits of well-rested employees. One small marketing agency in London has installed a quiet room for employees to use when they are exhausted. They also limit after-hours emails using an automated response system. They have noticed a huge difference in productivity, and they even believe their policies are impacting clients’ policies as well.
Such corporate napping policies send a message about the importance of sleep. It makes those who are up at night working and emailing, take a step back to consider if what they are working on is truly urgent. Sometimes seeing another company’s policy is all it takes to evaluate if you’ve just become enamored with the concept of being busy.
This is the problem with 24/7 connectivity and work. Sometimes you end up spinning your wheels just to feel self-important and remain busy, while you really are not accomplishing much. Productivity experts have found that if you set a goal and a timer to complete something within a given amount of time, you often can meet the goal.
It is far too easy to get carried away with the pressure to always be on. Employees and employers both suffer and often in silence. The French government took a very bold and progressive step to try and combat this. They decided to ban citizens from working during off-hours.
As these innovative companies and governments have shown, there is also a great value to taking the time to rest and recoup, so you can come back more energized and productive. These new policies show that sleep is something to be celebrated, not to be hidden, or worse, avoided. The person who loses the most from sleep deprivation isn’t your employer, it is you.
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