Sleeping on the job has long been consider a taboo, fireable offense. But as workforce demographics and technology have changed in the 21st century, so have attitudes about napping at the office.
A study published in 1989 entitled “Sleep and Alertness: Chronobiological, Behavioral and Medical Aspects of Napping" found that afternoon naps are not just useful to children. Researchers concluded that humans are biologically wired to feel tired midday due to the habit being formed as babies. They also cited the fact that most deaths, regardless of cause, happen during the mid-afternoon hours for whatever reason.
Many companies are beginning to recognize the importance of afternoon naps and are encouraging it as part of the regular workday.
The Rand Corporation estimated that the economic cost of insufficient sleep among workers in the United States is over $400 million per year. That's more than Canada, Germany, Japan, and the UK combined. Several companies have taken notice and put forth action plans to upgrade office seating and designate certain areas for afternoon naps.
Google is probably considered the pioneer of this trend. The company has high-tech EnergyPods disbursed throughout its San Francisco Bay Area headquarters. The pods utilize NASA technology that cuts off all external noise while the worker reclines back in a comfortable position. The pod gently wakes people up with a combination of vibrations and light.
Zappos has its high-tech "Sleeping With The Fishes" room. The room not only as a giant, 3,500 gallon fish tank with several types of aquatic life in it, but also several reclining massage chairs where workers take their afternoon naps. The dark blue walls and art painted on said walls make you feel like you're swimming among the fish.
The average company, of course, cannot afford the type of technology that these company's use. Ben and Jerry's uses regular beds in private rooms for workers to take naps. Again, all you need is a separate space and an upgrade to your office seating to create a similar environment.
Long work hours and the 24 hour cycles created by email and text messages mean most workers are never really "off" work. Many are taking naps at work whether company policy encourages it or not.
A 2018 survey by Amerisleep found that 70% of workers in the tech industry admitted to sleeping on the job at some point. Construction workers were the next most common work sleepers, followed by government and public administration officials. Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom were sleeping so often that the Chief Whip of the House of Lords, John Taylor, distributed a memo last year warning his colleague to cease the unprofessional behavior.
Government workers, along with those in tech, finance, and education, most often sleep right at their desks or in their cars. Medical and retail workers prefer meeting rooms for their cat naps.
Whether its the student commons, libraries, or even classrooms, its quite normal to see students napping everywhere on college campuses. Granted most companies cannot adopt a culture that encourages napping anywhere on company grounds. But studies continually show that students are more alert in class and do better on tests when they sleep right after studying. Productivity and adequate sleep are also positively correlated in the workplace.
Our staff can help you select the right office furniture to outfit your sleeping and relaxation rooms in the workplace. Give us a call during business hours at 510-369-3949, or email us and we'll back to you as soon as possible.