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Sleeping on the Job: Should Employers Promote Nap Time?

Posted on: March 15th, 2013 | Category: Employee Relations, Human Resources, Our Blog

sleep deprivation and nap times at work

Sorry, George, not this kind of nap time.

We could not resist weighing in on a recent trend reported on in USA Today:

Office nap rooms.

The story, which first ran in New Jersey’s Asbury Park Press, touts the benefits workers can experience from a brief afternoon siesta. From the article:

To help its 20 employees in the office fight through a wave of afternoon fatigue, Nationwide Planning Associates Inc. remodeled an unused closet with a recliner, a fountain and a bamboo rug. Nap time these days isn’t just for preschoolers.

Employees of the Paramus, N.J., investment firm sign up for 20-minute blocks of restorative time twice a week and emerge energized, as if hitting the restart button.

“I don’t even drink coffee anymore because (after a nap) you don’t need to,” said James Colleary, 27, a compliance principal who helped convince management that a nap room would be worth the investment. “If you take only 20 minutes, you actually feel alert (when you wake up). You feel refreshed.”

Since health experts have indicated that worker fatigue is an epidemic that is weighing on personal health and employee productivity, this could be a step in the right direction for some businesses battling sleep-related concerns with their workforce. And those concerns are very real: According to the National Sleep Foundation, some 43 percent of Americans ages 13 to 64 report that they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weeknights.

While we can see the benefits of giving employees working more than 40 hours a week a chance to nap in the workplace in order to recharge their batteries and refocus their attention to their jobs, we are not completely convinced that offering a nap room in every workplace is the solution to sleepy worker issues. It may even open up new issues!

“I think a vast number of employers would find their dollars better well spent on other initiatives, such as educating their workforce on the dangers and disadvantages of sleep deprivation, not just on the job, but on the roadways during the commute too,” says hireVision’s president and CEO, Tina Hamilton, PHR.

“At hireVision, we also take it a step further. We hire and attract employees who are seeking the kind of work-life balance that a 40-hour workweek  can bring, versus a 50-70  hour per week schedule. Prospective employees are made aware of this trade-off, and they welcome it,” says Hamilton. “When we see we need more hours to get work done, we are committed to hiring more people—either part-time or full-time—rather than burning out the ones we have. As a result we experience a lot less unfocused, wasteful time on the job, as the hours of work are limited. The feedback has been positive from our team, and most importantly, we attract absolute top performers who are truly committed to the goals of the company. It’s a true win-win.”

Wake Up Call for Our Readers:

So, is a nap room a good idea for your place of work, or rather a 40-hour workweek initiative? Tell us what you think.

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