Employee Experience

Supporting employee’s sleep health: Workplace napping

4 Mins read

Workplace napping has gained increasing recognition in recent years for its numerous benefits when incorporated into the workday. Studies have shown that short workplace napping can enhance productivity, with NASA finding a 26-minute nap increasing pilot performance by 34%. Companies like Google and Nike have implemented nap-friendly policies, understanding that allowing employees to recharge can lead to increased focus and creativity. Approximately 16% of US companies now offer designated nap rooms or quiet spaces for employees. This highlights the growing acceptance of work napping as a means to promote well-being and work-life balance.

The notion of napping in the office gained popularity thanks to the creative mind of George Costanza. In a humorous fashion, George’s makeshift bed under a robust desk, complete with a pillow, blanket, and a special spot for the essential alarm clock, showcased a stroke of genius.

For countless office workers, the fantasy of “clocking off” at noon has been a long-standing daydream throughout their professional lives. Oh, if only we could possess George’s carefree attitude and sense of entitlement from the 90s. However, today, there is an alternative solution on the horizon. We’re listing the main reasons why workplace napping is so effective.

Reason 1: Addressing Employee Sleep Deprivation

One compelling reason for employers to consider allowing napping at work is the prevalence of employee sleep deprivation. The statistics are striking—up to 30% of adults globally suffer from insomnia. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this issue, leading to a surge in insomnia rates, often referred to as “coronasomnia.”

It’s worth noting that the natural circadian rhythm of most adults experiences a dip in alertness around midday, making it conducive for a restorative nap. In fact, research conducted by Restworks in 2021 reveals that employees tend to nap more when working from home, indicating a latent desire for napping even in traditional office settings. Surprisingly, an overwhelming 70% of workers agree that employers should actively encourage napping in the workplace.

The repercussions of chronic sleep deprivation extend beyond personal health. They have a profound impact on productivity, with businesses estimated to lose billions of dollars each year due to decreased performance caused by sleep-deprived employees. These individuals are more prone to illness, leading to increased absences from work. Moreover, their on-the-job efficiency is compromised, resulting in more errors and an elevated risk of accidents.

Given the substantial consequences of inadequate sleep on both employee well-being and organizational outcomes, prioritizing sleep health becomes an imperative for companies to consider and address.

Reason 2: Enhancing Productivity with Workplace Napping

Napping at work not only serves as an effective remedy for sleep deprivation among employees but also outperforms caffeine as a performance enhancer. Extensive research demonstrates that a mere 20-minute power nap leads to significant improvements in alertness, cognition, and mood, providing a lasting effect throughout the day.

The positive impact of napping extends beyond these immediate benefits. Encouragingly, there is promising evidence suggesting that napping can alleviate anxiety. Anxiety is a prevalent health concern among various professionals, including those in healthcare. Furthermore, napping serves as an effective antidote to burnout, which affects a staggering 77% of the workforce.

workplace napping 2

When weighing the advantages, the benefits of napping at work far outweigh the time invested in sleeping. Rather than viewing it as an expense, promoting short naps in the workplace should be perceived as a strategic investment. By prioritizing employee well-being and providing a supportive nap-friendly environment, organizations can foster enhanced productivity and overall success.

Reason 3: Enhanced Workplace Attractiveness with Workplace Napping

Joining the ranks of prestigious companies that prioritize employee well-being, including Nike, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Zappos, Facebook, and Google, can significantly enhance your appeal to job seekers. In today’s competitive job market, offering the opportunity for napping during the workday can make a substantial difference in attracting and retaining top talent.

Surveys consistently reveal that candidates are more inclined to choose a company that values and supports napping. The mere provision of this opportunity fosters a sense of loyalty among employees, knowing that their well-being is valued and prioritized. This becomes especially crucial in a time when record numbers of US workers are leaving their jobs, making it vital for organizations to stand out from the competition.

By investing in your employees’ sleep health and demonstrating your commitment to their overall well-being, you can position your company as an employer of choice. The positive association between workplace napping and job satisfaction can significantly contribute to attracting a talented workforce that seeks a nurturing and supportive work environment. So, will your company be the next to prioritize sleep health and reap the benefits of it?

What is the ideal duration for naps?

Determining the optimal length for naps is essential to harness their benefits for employee well-being. While NASA’s mentioned research suggests a 26 minute nap, further studies suggest that longer naps can be even more restorative, with durations in multiples of twenty minutes showing increased efficacy.

Naps lasting between 40 to 60 minutes have been found to enhance memory functions, although it may take a few minutes for the mind and body to transition back into work mode afterward. In some cases, longer naps can offer additional benefits. For instance, a 90-minute nap has shown to improve procedural memory, creativity, and emotional well-being.

One of the challenges faced by employees who wish to take a nap is finding a suitable environment. Attempting to nap at a desk or in a car during a lunch break can be highly uncomfortable and disruptive. To truly experience rest and recharge during a nap, employees require a tranquil and distraction-free space.

Creating an environment conducive to napping is crucial for employees to fully reap the benefits of these rejuvenating breaks. Offering a designated area that promotes relaxation and provides the necessary tranquility can significantly enhance the overall effectiveness and enjoyment of napping for employees.

Conclusion

In conclusion, workplace napping offers numerous benefits for employees and organizations alike. It addresses sleep deprivation, enhances productivity, and makes companies more attractive to job seekers. The ideal nap duration varies, with shorter power naps and longer naps of 40-60 minutes providing different advantages. Creating a suitable environment for napping is crucial for employees to fully recharge. By prioritizing workplace napping, companies can improve well-being, productivity, and overall success.

Further Reading

The Company Culture at Amazon
Becoming a pet-friendly workplace
Minimizing workplace distractions: 6 tips

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About author
Fatjona Gërguri is the content writer for Employee Experience Magazine, covering the relevant topics about employee experience, organizational culture and general HR topics.
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