Can you imagine asking your boss if it would be ok to take a quick nap at midday, or the look on their face at even being asked…or, for that matter, the look on your colleagues faces if at work your boss suddenly declared nap time?
Suffice to say, for some it might well be a dream come true whilst for others their worst nightmare realised, but whichever camp you find yourself in on the idea of workplace nap breaks, the evidence suggests that staff who are able to catch forty winks in their work day stand to be far more productive, affable and focussed whilst they are awake. Hence, workplace snoozes might not be as bizarre as they sound.
Minimise Work Mistakes and Mishaps
One of the leading reasons given for making work-related mishaps here in the UK is sleep deprivation, and what is more alarming is that upon hearing this few are surprised. Being the nation in which the ’48 hour work week’ is becoming so common, as reported by The Daily Mail Newspaper website, it is arguably becoming ‘the norm’, with it work related mistakes, accidents and exhaustion are too also something we have to come to accept as ‘just part of the working day’.
Then, one swift and sure way to remedy this, short of working less, is to incorporate a designated nap break into long shifts to ensure workers do not burn themselves out before the day has ended.
Speculating to Accumulate: The Benefits of Strategic Napping
A common adage said by business people is that it is necessary to ‘speculate to accumulate’. Despite this, and unfortunately, bosses do not seem to currently be applying this philosophy to every aspect of their businesses, which is not only a shame for its burned out work forces, but also stands to cost businesses potential millions.
After all, ‘strategic napping’ as it is referred to and has been researched by world class academics at Harvard University, can in fact do far more to promote health than harm it. In fact, the results of experiments and research concerning ‘strategic napping’ undertaken by research team at Harvard University have suggested that napping can be enjoyed without having a detrimental effect on a person’s ability to or quality of sleep at night. Further, letting staff take a short nap could also see their productivity and efficiency double whilst they are up and working, saving and even making businesses and companies millions in the long term.
To read what the academics at Harvard have to say about strategic napping in its entirity, give the Harvard Health Letter; Napping May Not Be Such a No-No, published on the Harvard University website, a read.
End the Excuses
Being tired, having not sleep well, a late night and being disturbed whilst trying to sleep are all some of the most common excuses given at work and heard by bosses when mistakes occur or complaints roll in. They are also, of course, all the same excuse or reason in essence; the fact is, too many of us are getting too little sleep.
In fact, the problem of being sleep deprived due to the reassure of keeping up with an ‘accelerated life’ in 2016 has been in recent years the subject of numerous articles in the press and reported on by all of the major newspapers here in the UK. Most prominently perhaps, The Telegraph Newspaper published the story: Why We All Need More Sleep detailing the sleep deprivation related accident that lead Arianna Huffington (the founder of the Huffington Post) to revaluate her sleep-work ratio, and The Guardian Newspaper which in 2014 published the article: It’s Time to Stop This Competitive Sleep Deprivation, looking at the growing culture in Britain that has workers sleeping less and working more under the illusion that doing so is evidence of a strong work ethic – and not just a sure fire way to ensure you make more work related mistakes each day, and maximise your chance consequently of being fired!
In reality, depriving oneself of sleep or being deprived of sleep due to work hours, overtime and the pressure to work more only increases the probability of an employee messing up and consequently in the long term decreases efficiency. Hence, allow staff to take a nap and not only are there fewer mistakes being made, those using lack of sleep as an excuse for actually being careless or lazy about their work have nowhere to hide.
Putting on a Happy Front vs. Actually Being Happy
We all do it, smile when inside we are seething, don our phone voices even when our throats feel full of razor blades and try to help when really our minds and bodies are telling us we are the ones who need help. In fact, in Britain we do it so well we are world famous for putting on that brave face and approaching life with a resolutely ‘stiff upper lip’. And, of course, this isn’t a bad thing; we are not lying, after all. Rather, we are fulfilling our job role to the best of your ability, being professional and exerting will power and fortitude. And that it fantastic.
What isn’t so fantastic is when keeping up that high level of professionalism begins to wear on us due to lack of sleep and we consequently begin to feel the weight of holding our heads up day in and out is getting too much. Further, the pressure then of continuing with no foreseeable escape or relief of any kind in sight only causes more sleep problems, prolongs insomnia and makes us even more depressed.
Then, a midday nap is less of a strange idea and more of an obviously good one. After all, it is such a simple, cost free, healthy and instantly revitalising way to ease if not entirely prevent or solve all of the above. Hence, if you can fit a short nap into your schedule, it is well worth at least giving a go.
Why Big Businesses Are Big
Most of the businesses which already implement nap breaks are, surprise surprise, those which enjoy and achieve global success. Take for example, Google which are already implementing nap breaks and providing staff with designated ‘sleep pods’ in which to take a break and get some brain boosting shut eye. Not only are Google not losing money, they are making it, and lots of it.
Whilst it would be misleading to suggest Goggle’s success is a direct product of the fact its staff are allowed and encouraged to take nap breaks, the conscientious attitude and respect Google bosses demonstrate and afford their staff by doing this, as well as ensuring their staff get their recommended 8 hours sleep, goes a long way in boosting morale within their offices. In turn, the combination of feeling respected and appreciated by their employer and being able to get the sleep they need to do the best job possible makes turning a business into a far bigger one not just far more possible, but also far more probable.
Hence, listen up business owners and give you staff a break once in a while, and literally. After all, it might just make your business, whilst failing to do so could equally break both your workforce and business in the long term.