Maxwell Stephens

Can napping at the office boost productivity?

Can napping at the office boost productivity?

Seen as a ridiculous fad by many, giving employees the option to have a nap whilst at work may not be as laughable as many employers think. There has been significant research into the benefits of having a snooze in the workplace, particularly how bed rest can increase productivity. There are many offices around the world who have decided to create a designated area for napping to great effect.

The importance of sleep for productivity

Various studies conducted by sleep expert Matthew Walker (professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California Berkeley), have shown that under-slept employees can become a massive hindrance to a workplace. They often take on less challenging problems, they produce fewer creative solutions, they exert less effort when working in groups, they are more likely to lie, cheat and engage in deviant behaviour. Furthermore, the sleep-loss epidemic does not only impact employees, Professor Matthew Walker also found that there is a direct correlation between the total number of hours sleep that a CEO has had and their levels of charisma within the workplace. The research is very clear that under-slept individuals are not as productive or successful. 

How employees with less sleep can reduce profitability

Further studies from Matthew Walker have found that employees who sleep for less than 5 hours per night are 200-300% more likely to catch a cold than employees sleeping 8 hours per night. With employees getting sick more frequently, not only does this disrupt the flow of the workforce but it also forces organizations to cash-out sick pay to non-working employees which is essentially throwing cash out of the window. On top of this, those employees sleeping less and getting sick more frequently can pass illnesses around the workplace and create a larger impact amongst the office, ultimately causing a larger proportion of the team to become unwell. Even if these employees continue to work, it is obvious that being unwell with hinder productivity and cause output to fall.

How can the implementation of beds within the office help to overcome the sleep-loss  

pandemic?

It has been found that napping in the afternoon improves cognitive performance and alertness. An early nap in the afternoon for no more than 30 minutes can relieve stress amongst employees within the office environment, it may also increase functions such as memory, logical reasoning and the ability to complete complex tasks. This can help to counteract the implications caused by a lack of sleep and will hopefully improve the productivity and efficiency of the company.

Wider benefits of adding beds to office spaces

In some cases, beds can be introduced to working environments as a way for employees to get away from the desk. Meetings, calls, chats and many more workplace interactions can be completed whilst lying on a bed. In theory this should result in the employees being more comfortable and relaxed, reducing stress and causing more meaningful discussions and lead to productivity boosts. 

Which Companies are Doing This?

BrightHR, a Human Resources consultancy firm which operates in Manchester asked their employees for ideas as to how they can make the working environment more enjoyable. To the surprise of the management team, employees asked for beds to be installed in the workplace. Management took their employees up on their request and built a designated area of napping. They wanted to see if it would actually improve productivity. Google has installed sleep pods in its offices for any staff requiring a nap. The high-tech beds include a built-in sound system for those who like to drift off to relaxing music. Nike, Facebook and Ben & Jerry’s are just a few other examples of companies implementing designated sleeping rooms within their offices.

What do the Employees Think?

David Seidman, former Security Manager at Google talks about his experience using Google’s sleeping pods, “I’ve used them many times, and it’s quite common for them to be fully occupied. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a multioccupancy nap room that didn’t have at least one person it it.”

Maxime Laboy, an Instructional Designer at Google says, “I have used the nap pods at work during the day. Google assumes that we are all adults and as long as the work is coming in on time and at a high quality, nobody cares.”

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