The water cooler is long gone, replaced by company emails, intranets, and social media. Now the coffee break is on the way out with the advent of newer work life benefits such as napping breaks. Google has made the concept of nap pods cool, and more companies are joining the search engine employer extraordinaire having found it’s actually an engagement and productivity boost. Nap rooms, nap chairs, and napping breaks are on the rise at Huffington Post, Nationwide Planning Associates, and Yarde Metals.
National Workplace Napping Day
Believe it or not, there’s a special day to celebrate and promote napping during the workday. It’s National Workplace Napping Day, the first Monday after daylight savings time begins. Created by Boston University professor William Anthony, National Workplace Napping Day promotes refreshing breaks that can be better than that cup of afternoon coffee. Sleep disorders specialist Dr. James Wyatt, of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Chicago Medical Center says our society is chronically sleep-deprived. Dr. Amanda Beck from the Sleep Disorder Center at the University of New Mexico agrees, but says many employers still don’t get it. The stigma is that sleeping on the job is a sign of laziness, not the productivity and engagement and employee retention booster that it’s proving to be.
How Napping at Work Works
Some employees go to nap in their cars at lunchtime, like employee Joy Chromy, but employers have a lot of options to encourage and allow workplace napping. From regular recliners to couches to nap pillows to special nap rooms equipped with “EnergyPods” (Google’s famous nap pods), employers have a wide variety of simple to extravagant methods to give employees the gift of a restful nap.
If you’re really lucky, your employer will provide upgraded napping services like Newsweek, Hearst, and Time Warner. Those companies offer premium services from a napping spa that include aromatherapy, soothing sound and light and optional foot rubs. And if a whole room, chair, pod, or napping spa service just isn’t in the budget, frugal employers can always spring for Dream Helmets. For $29.95 a pop, Dream Helmets let wearers plug-in and tune out and wake them up on time to get back to the grind.
For those without napping accommodations at work, there’s a new site that’s here to help. Google Naps (unaffiliated with Google Inc.) utilizes an online map to crowd source the very best napping locations. Visit their site today and find the best spots to catch a cat nap near your workplace.
Research is on the Napper’s Side
Doctors from all over recommend the benefits of napping to counter sleep deprivation, improve productivity, and safeguard physical and mental health. Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre director Jim Horne says naps refresh without interfering with nighttime sleep. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health senior scientist Dr. Roger Rosa, says daytime naps help counter the slow reflexes and sluggishness of sleep inertia from lost sleep, helping tired workers everywhere catch up with cat naps.
The next time you find yourself nodding off at work, try suggesting or requesting nap therapy. For good measure, throw around a few big names in the napping game and you may soon be hitting the pillow as part of your daily work routine.
For more best practice ideas for building a culture of appreciation, please enjoy our free eBook “Workplace Gratitude”.
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