[su_dropcap style=”default” size=”3″ class=””]I[/su_dropcap]t’s 2pm and your customers are banging down your company’s door. Instead of productive, creative, and energetic workers, your employees spend their time muddling through mundane tasks and counting down the hours until 5pm.
If this is an everyday occurrence, your office may be facing a sleep deprivation issue. According to a 2008 poll of full time workers by the National Sleep Foundation, 37% of employees are at risk for sleep disorders like chronic sleep loss. A third of those responding admitted that their lack of sleep at night directly interfered with their daily work performance.
Today, many leading businesses are attempting to combat the problem of sleepless employees head on by providing the opportunity and ability for employees to nap at work. These companies report an increase in worker satisfaction, productivity, and innovation among all levels of employees. If you are considering implementing a lifestyle change at your workplace, here are the top 10 reasons why you should let your employees nap at work:
1. Avoid Caffeine Burnout
If your employees are turning to a cup of coffee to get them through the day, this could be an early warning sign of a nonproductive workforce. While coffee may provide a jolt, a nap is much more effective at restoring the mind and preparing for the second half of the day.
2. Increase Creativity
Naps that are about an hour long (and therefore enter the REM stage), have been shown by a National Geographic study to lead to better creative thinking. Research has found that students who were given a series of creative word problems and then allowed to nap were better able to conceptualize different meanings and usages compared to those who were not allotted the same REM sleep time.
3. Combat Shift Work Fatigue
One of the biggest and most dangerous plagues facing our workplace is the crippling fatigue of those who work outside the normal 9am-5pm routine. Shift workers, such as doctors, truck drivers, factory workers, and police officers, have higher instances of error and lack of concentration, costing businesses billions of dollars in revenue, according the National Sleep Foundation. Nap breaks encouraged throughout the shift can help keep workers and those around them safe and boost the concentration needed to get through long work periods.
4. Decrease Workplace Accidents
According to the same National Sleep Foundation findings, shift workers also have higher instances of accidents and fatalities. Sleep deprived employees are at risk of causing frequent accidents both big and small (historically including international ‘headline’ incidents such as the disastrous Challenger Exposition, American Airlines 1420 crash, and even Chernobyl). Regular napping increases alertness for all employees, making for a more ready and able workforce.
5. Improve Worker Satisfaction
When scouting and recruiting the best talent, it’s great to have a perk like a nap room or designated sleep time to add to the many reasons to join your force. In fact, companies that are routinely featured on workplace satisfaction surveys, such as Google and Zappos, have nap spaces for their workers. Showing a genuine care for employee wellness has proven to be a major payback factor for the most successful companies.
6. Maximize Your Productivity
Are your workers dragging behind in productivity or struggling to meet the day’s demands? A 30-minute nap, according to a 2002 Harvard University study, could prevent your workers from slipping even further behind in work. In fact, naps have shown to boost productivity compared to those who did not nap during the day.
7. Boost the Overall Mood
Unhappy workers can make the workplace environment miserable for everyone else and drag company morale. According to research by Harvard University, a lack of sleep can increase anger, agitation, and even depression. The best way to combat this is by encouraging and enabling a consistent sleep schedule that includes a 20-60 minute nap period.
8. Promote Healthy Lifestyles
With obesity, heart conditions, and general health and wellness costs on the rise, human resource managers are looking for new and innovative solutions to improve the health of their employees. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, naps are a simple way to fight unhealthy activities like food cravings, lack of energy for exercise, and stress by improving the body’s ability to process insulin and increase metabolic activity.
9. Enhance Learning
A long day of training can drain even the most alert employee. Instead of wasting time and energy, prepare your workers for a day of learning by including a nap as part of the training routine. The National Institute of Health study shows that regular nappers have higher level of brain activity and are better able to cognitively process and retain new information.
10. Fight Day to Day Stress
Stress can creep up in even the most laid back environments. Stress can have an incredibly detrimental effect on mood, productivity, creativity, and health. It is vital that managers attempt to fight stress through holistic means. Napping during the daytime has been shown by an Allegheny University study to lower blood pressure and pulse rates therefore restoring the body to pre-stress levels.
Making the decision to include naps in your workplace routine can clearly benefit both you the employer and your employees. By increasing everything from mood, productivity, health and wellness, and stress, naps are becoming the leading way to ensure that your workplace is prepared for whatever comes its way.