Running Your Business

Should Your Organization Let Employees Nap at Work?

  • Over one-third of American adults don't get enough sleep, which can negatively affect their health and performance

  • Insomnia costs the United States $63.2 billion annually in lost productivity

  • Offering an area where employees are able to take workplace naps can improve their performance and morale

Posted by February 25, 2019

The decision to let employees nap at work can be a dilemma for some employers, but workplace naps may be more beneficial than you think!

While it may sound unusual, taking short, 20- to 30-minute naps at work has been proven to improve employee performance, mood and alertness, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Knowing the facts can help you make an informed decision about whether your organization should offer accommodations that allow employees to nap in the workplace.

Workplace Naps Are Gaining in Popularity

Nap rooms and nap pods are becoming more common in the workplace, and for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that insufficient sleep is a public health problem in the United States, as over one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep.

Furthermore, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that insomnia costs the United States $63.2 billion annually in lost productivity. Encouraging employees to sleep more at home might not be effective, as the hustle and bustle of daily life, family engagements and extracurricular activities often get prioritized over sleep.

The Benefits of Workplace Naps

Allowing employees to nap at work is an incentive that can make a big difference at your organization. Here are a few advantages that employees could experience:

  • Heightened energy levels and improved morale
  • Increased stamina and resilience, helping them to avoid burnout
  • More focus, enabling them to make fewer fatigue-related mistakes

Numerous studies show that napping at work can maximize productivity and reduce fatigue in shift workers. Offering workplace naps could even be a deciding factor in recruitment efforts, as on-site napping is a desirable benefit more and more professional appreciate.

Potential Drawbacks to Consider

Few drawbacks, if any, exist when offering workplace naps—as long as employees abide by on-site napping rules and regulations. However, there’s always a risk of employees taking advantage of nap-at-work opportunities, extending power naps into longer naps and working fewer hours overall. Accordingly, it’s important to create clear guidelines (and routinely enforce them) if this is a perk your organization chooses to adopt.

Should Your Company Offer Nap Rooms?

Creating nap rooms or nap pods at your workplace can provide an excellent space for employees to take short power naps at work, as sleeping at desks or in cars is far from comfortable. Integrating nap pods into employee wellness rooms—which might also include massage chairs, medication administration spaces, private areas for nursing moms or natural light box therapy to ease seasonal depression—is an employee benefit that can help attract and retain top talent.

Whether or not to offer nap rooms and make on-site naps acceptable is entirely up to the employer. If you let staff nap at work, it’s crucial to have stringent napping policies in place that prevent employees from abusing the perk.

How to Implement a Workplace Napping Policy

Upon hiring new employees, have them read through your workplace napping policy and sign off on it so there’s no question about the rules you have in place. Of course, existing employees should also be prompted to read and accept the guidelines. These may include:

  • Maximum daily time allotments for naps
  • The time of day napping is allowed
  • Whether or not employees must reserve nap spaces
  • Locations in the workplace where employees are permitted to nap

Be sure employees understand how many working hours are required each week, whether arrival and departure times are flexible as well as what the consequences are for taking extended naps, working too few hours, and failing to meet performance standards. When implemented properly, workplace naps are beneficial to employers and employees—and can help recruit and retain top talent. When implemented improperly, they can be a hindrance.

Looking for tools and resources that can help your colleagues manage their benefits? Explore the Employer Toolkit hosted on United Concordia Dental’s website.

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