Is an employee nap room right for your company?
Sleep (or the lack of it) is becoming an increasingly important topic among health professionals and business leaders alike. "Sleep fatigue," caused by longer work hours and the prevalence of smart phones that keep employees engaged long after the traditional work-day is done, is having an impact on workplaces, including:
Other than adding more coffee machines around the office, what is an employer to do?
An increasing number of companies (including Google, Nike, and Ben & Jerry's) have created "nap rooms" or "quiet rooms" and encourage employees to use them when they're feeling sluggish.
Sleep researcher and journalist David Randall recently published a book called Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, which was recently featured in Maclean's magazine (http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/08/08/on-how-animals-sleep-the-real-olympic-advantage-and-why-men-rest-easy/). In his book, Randall explains that managing sleep fatigue of its workers is in a company's best interest.
He details an interview with the president of a train company who was spending a fortune on accident costs until they implemented simple sleep fatigue-control policies that made a huge difference, including making sure people have mandatory break times and that shift managers do basic tests on employees to make sure they were really awake. The company saw their accident costs plummet dramatically!
Randall also discusses how firms like Google use nap strategies as an employee retention tool as well as a means to better results. They believe that allowing naps at the office "gives them a chance to synthesize what they learned, perhaps find a new solution that wasn't obvious to them in the first place. Research shows a short nap-not just resting or walking away for a while, but actual sleep-will speed up a solution when you have an intractable problem, or if you're learning a new technique or a new skill."
A number of other researchers support this movement and are detailed in a recent article on Inc.com (http://www.inc.com/articles/201108/sleeping-on-the-job-should-your-employees-take-naps.html):
So the evidence suggests there may be value in looking into a "nap room" for your workplace, but how do you manage it so that it is not abused or used inappropriately? Establishing an effective employee policy is the start. Of course, remember to customize your employee policy manual to the type of business you are in!
Do you need more help with creating an effective employee policy manual? Check out our upcoming learning session.
Yes, it does sound like a nightmare for employers to put into practice, but if managed properly, it could help your employees to feel better rested, more productive and much more creative.
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