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Some Companies Encourage Napping At Work To Increase Productivity

September 9, 2010

Man sleeping under desk at workSleeping on the job used to get you fired. Now, however, some companies are actually adding naps to their list of employee benefits, reported FOX 2 News.

More and more companies have turned to napping policies to try to save billions in lost productivity each year. Bloomberg Businessweek reported that companies where employees stay at the office past the typical eight-hour day tend to be more lax about napping at work. Nike, for example, has provided employees with nap-friendly "quiet rooms". These rooms can also be used for meditation. Google has a number of napping pods throughout its Mountain View campus. Airlines, including Continental and British Airways, allow pilots to sleep during long international flights while colleagues take control. Jawa, a mobile technology company in Arizona has two resting rooms for fatigued programmers. "If you have employees working 16-hour days, you want to give them an opportunity to take a power nap," said Melissa Gierginger, a spokeswoman for Jawa.

Some pro-napping offices do not offer designated napping areas at the office. Hearst, Newsweek and Time Warner, for instance, have all outsourced their employee napping needs to Yelo, a napping spa in midtown Manhattan. The spa offers a "cocoon-like" treatment room where clients can adjust aromatherapy, sound and lighting. A 20-minute nap, which is all you really need to reap the benefits of a midday slumber, costs $15.

Fox 2 News reported that a Stanford University study revealed that Americans average less than seven hours of sleep a night and approximately 20 percent suffer from sleepiness during the day. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, early research has shown that short periods of sleep "improve alertness, memory, motor skills, decision-making and mood". Christopher Lindholst, co-founder of MetroNaps, which markets a napping chair called the EnergyPod, said, "Over the last few years, there's been a lot of focus on exercise and nutrition, but adequate sleep is arguably the most important element of productivity." Despite the data, however, The Wall Street Journal pointed out that a 2010 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that only 5 percent of employers have on-site napping rooms.

While beneficial, napping at work can have some drawbacks. For example, if an employee has been up all night, a midday nap can cause a hangover effect known as "sleep inertia". Napping policies may also pressure employees to stay at the office late into the night.

For companies that do not encourage on-site naps, The Huffington Post suggested an alternative: the unnap nap. In this case, an employee spends one to three minutes with his or her eyes covered and focuses all his or her attention on one muscle. Matthew Edlund, M.D., said this technique can help you feel relaxed and focused anytime, anywhere.


Compiled by Heidi M. Agustin

Sources:

"A Different Way to Rest: The UnNap Nap," huffingtonpost.com, September 8, 2010, Matthew Edlund, M.D.

"Check Up: Companies Encourage Cat Naps," myfoxdetroit.com, September 1, 2010

"Napping Gets a Nod at the Workplace," businessweek.com, August 26, 2010, Jascha Hoffman

"The Benefits of Napping on the Job," online.wsj.com, September 2, 2010, Sue Shellenbarger

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