WorkHuman Wednesday: 4 Reasons You Should Nap on the Job

August 26, 2015 Lynette Silva Heelan

by Lynette Silva

Recognize This!—Napping during the workday makes employees more alert, innovative, and happy—making your company more profitable.

Following on Derek’s post yesterday about renewing energy at work, I couldn’t resist sharing more on napping (and not just because my husband says napping is my favorite hobby).

August is National Napping Month, surely a bizarre unofficial holiday, but an excellent opportunity to explain the value of naps to worker output and company profitability. Harvard Medical School found the American economy loses $63.2 billion a year in productivity due to lack of rest.  That’s an average of $2,280 per employee per year. Let’s get into the specifics of the benefits of napping:

  1. Nappers are more alert fMRI scans show, brain activity is and remains higher in nappers throughout day.  NASA found their pilots to be 54% more alert and able to perform at 34% higher capacity after a 25 minute naps.
  1. Nappers are more innovative National Geographic found that bursts of activity occur in the right hemisphere of nappers’ brains—the area that controls creativity.
  2. Nappers are happier A long list of peer-reviewed studies determined that napping improves mood. Happiness leads to higher employee engagement; mood is particularly important considering 61% of workers find themselves irritable, particularly when demand is high.
  1. Market leaders encourage napping A SHRM poll found the number of companies with napping facilities was increasing.  Think these companies only include the techies in Silicon Valley like Google or Cisco?  Nap pods or rooms can be found at the London Stock Exchange, Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, Nike, Zappos, Huffington Post—the list goes on. Market leaders across industries are creating cultures that encourage napping and without sacrificing their bottom lines.

The message is clear: power naps of just 10-20 minutes can help boost productivity and creativity. Giving employees the space to do what they need to physically to boost their energy – whether it be a nap, a quick walk around the building, or a chat with colleagues – conveys your trust in them and confidence they can and will get the job done.

Does your company have a culture that allows for quick naps or other methods of rejuvenation during the natural lulls of the day?  How much money are you losing when your workers don’t sleep on the job?


About the Author

Lynette Silva Heelan

Lynette Silva is a principal consultant on Workhuman’s Strategy & Consulting team, partnering with clients on change strategies to make work more human.

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