DESIGNING A GREAT WORKPLACE EXPERIENCE _Why sleeping at work could actually be good for your company?

Let’s imagine this : You are in your office at work and it’s 2:14 p.m. your eyelids are feeling heavy, and now you’re stifling a yawn. A few minutes ago you arrived back in the office, fresh off a satisfying lunch. But  now you’re in the throes of what is undeniably a mid-afternoon crash. You reach for your coffee mug and head for a refill when a co-worker stops you in the hall. He’s discovered an alternative treatment, he  tells you. Like caffeine, it improves concentration and alleviates drowsiness. But it won’t give you heartburn or heighten your blood pressure. It’s also been clinically proven to elevate your mood, enhance your creativity, and improve your memory. Sound too good to be true?


8 benefits of taking a sleep on the work.

It turns out that you used to use this technique all the time. So did your ancient ancestors. It’s called napping. Now, before you dismiss the idea of workplace napping out of  hand, consider the facts. 20-to-30-minute naps have been shown to:

  • boost productivity
  • increase alertness
  • quicken motor reflexes
  • raise accuracy
  • heighten perceptions
  • strengthen stamina
  • improve decision-making
  • elevate mood
  • enhance creativity
  • bolster memory
  • lower stress
  • reduce dependence on drugs and alcohol
  • lessen the frequency of migraines and ulcers
  • promote weight loss
  • minimize the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risk

Not bad for about the same amount of time it takes to visit a Starbucks. Some studies have shown that learning after a nap is as effective as learning after an entire night’s sleep. So why do most of us scoff at the idea of a mental reboot when our bodies signal the need for rest?

In part, it’s because we misunderstand napping. Because our energy levels dip after lunch, we tend to think feeling drowsy is a consequence of having eaten too much. However, research shows that people are equally drowsy 8 hours after waking, whether or not they’ve had lunch beforehand. If you find this hard to believe (as I did), consider the way you feel after breakfast. The first meal of the day energizes us. Why not the second?

Another napping misconception stems from the fact that people occasionally wake up from a midday rest feeling groggy, or find that it disrupts their evening sleep cycle. This problem arises if you allow yourself to sleep too deeply. Unlike nighttime rest, which involves all 5 stages of the sleep cycle [Stage 1 = Introduction to sleep; Stage 2 = Beginning of sleep; Stage 3 = Slow wave sleep; Stage 4 = Deep sleep; Stage 5 = REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage], napping is most effective when we wake before our bodies descend into deep sleep.

Stages of SLEEP

We have a biological need for rest that is no less pressing than our biological need for food or water. When we’re tired, less blood flow reaches the areas of our brain that are critical to thinking. We’re also less capable of forming long-term memories. Sure, we can power through the midday slog when we need to-but only at a reduced level of functioning. Perhaps the biggest reason that we continue to look down on naps, is that we have been misled into equating hours on the job with productivity. If you believe that performance is entirely a function of effort, you see anyone who takes a break as a slacker. In the past, this view had merit.

Line workers’ value was tied to the amount of hours they put in on the factory floor, but the vast majority of us don’t work in a factory anymore. In today’s knowledge economy, it’s the quality of your thinking that matters most, and quality thinking is directly tied to energy level. A related argument can be made for the growing importance of maintaining a positive mood. In a world in which most jobs involve building interpersonal connections and fostering collaborations , feeling irritable can have serious implications for performance. Research shows that when we’re tired, we get into more disagreements, and not just because we’re less patient. It’s because our ability to read other people diminishes. A brief midday rest recharges our minds and allows our memories to consolidate. It relaxes our mental filters and allows unconventional ideas to surface. It re-energizes our ability to concentrate and restores our emotional composure.

Midday napping may sound like an extravagant indulgence that coddles workers. And it’s true that employees reap considerable advantage. But the ultimate beneficiaries of allowing for rest are the companies that create the conditions for optimal functioning. No reasonable person expects to visit a gym and lift weights continuously without a break. We openly acknowledge the limitations of our muscles. But we don’t do so for our minds. Declining performance is not as readily visible to us in the office as it is in the weight room, and so we continue plodding along, oblivious to the fact that We are contributing at a fraction of the rate we were earlier. Ignoring the body’s need for recuperation or drugging it into submission may keep workers awake. What it won’t do is position them deliver their best performance.


How often do you check your cell phone after leaving work? The answer might reveal your future productivity. When we deny ourselves the opportunity to recuperate, our performance invariably suffers. In many organizations, being available around the clock has be come an unspoken expectation. When a manager sends late-night mails, he implicitly endorses a round-the-dock work culture, paving the way for after-hours stress that spills over into the home, where a curt e-mail can spoil a dinner or ruin a weekend. While there are undoubtedly instances when staying connected is a legitimate necessity, it’s rare for a business to require that every team member stay logged on continuously. Moreover, it’s in a company’s interest to allow employees to recover. If an associate is frequently working late into the night and through the weekend, she is likely doing so at a cost to her long-term engagement.

It used to be the case that managers had to push employees to work harder. Today the opposite seems to be happening. In many industries, a key to retaining top talent involves protecting employees from working nonstop, which is why some pioneering organizations are starting to take matters into their own hands, leaving employees little choice but to recharge. A surprising number of companies have stopped limiting vacation time altogether, including IBM, Evernote, and Netflix: It’s a way of communicating trust in their employees and encouraging them to take the time they need when they need it.

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