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Workplace Napping: A Perk With A Purpose

woman tired at workIT’S 3:15 PM, and I need a nap so badly my eyes are beginning to cross.

Alas, I am at work, so I will fight through it and write about napping instead. But if I worked at Google, Ben & Jerry’s or Proctor & Gamble, I’d be snoozing right now.

Taking a nap at work isn’t a problem at a growing number of companies. In fact, according to Today, many companies are encouraging power napping, going so far as to invest in nap rooms or napping chairs for their employees. Called EnergyPods, these super cool chairs are made by MetroNaps, the “premier provider of workplace rest facilities.”

There’s a reason why companies are beginning to allow workplace napping, and it has everything to do with productivity. Sleepy workers aren’t as productive as well-rested employees, and any decline in productivity costs money. Big money. Today reports that researchers from Harvard Medical School found sleepy workers cost U.S. companies $63.2 billion in lost worker productivity.

But reduced productivity isn’t the only concern. Just this month, a sleeping train driver caused a crash at O’Hare International Airport. Thirty people were injured when the train went off the tracks and ran up an escalator. Luckily, no was killed. No company can afford the liability that comes with employee-caused accidents.

As a sleep-deprived nation, it makes good business sense to sanction employee napping. Napping is proven to help improve performance and alertness. And amazingly, all it takes is a short nap of 20 – 30 minutes to feel rejuvenated, says the National Sleep Foundation. That’s comparable to the amount of time that is often wasted by employees essentially doing whatever they can to stay awake, whether taking coffee breaks, surfing the web or chatting with co-workers.

Sara C. Mednick, assistant professor of Psychology at the University of California and author of “Take a Nap! Change Your Life,” says her research shows that “without a midday rest, we are not able to perform at optimal levels throughout the day. In fact, our performance falls apart. Napping maintains and even boosts our skills.”

Hmm. The more research I do, the more I think I should have a little chat with our CEO. Seems like a mattress company should get on board with the whole workplace-napping phenomenon. I feel refreshed just thinking about it!

Are you allowed to nap at your workplace?

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