Should You Allow Employees to Nap at Work?

Should You Allow Employees to Nap at Work?

On the surface, sleeping at work might sound like a horrible idea. However, the idea of letting employees hit the reset button and return to their tasks more refreshed and productive could be a major benefit for businesses.

Whether you work from home, in an office, or in an environment that’s always changing, naps at work can benefit individual employees and the companies they work for — as long as this strategy is implemented with the right goals in mind.

Why You Should Allow Employees to Nap at Work

Julia Hobsbawm, entrepreneur, speaker, and author of “The Simplicity Principle” said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “A nap is important because it signals that it’s time for a reset and it gives you permission to give yourself a bit of downtime in the middle of a working day.”

Hobsbawm believes that today’s employees are exposed to tech overload and more opportunities for workplace burnout. She explained that people often become less productive when they try to focus on too many things at once. If you have team members who are working on seven or more projects throughout a day, they can really start to lose motivation and brain power. But a short power nap or a break in the middle of the day can bring that number back to zero, so they can wake up refreshed and ready to take on the rest of their to-do list.

How to Implement a Nap at Work Culture

However, this doesn’t mean you need to set a strict nap time or napping policy in the office. Hobsbawm says she is more in favor of culture changes over strict rules or regulations.

So instead of telling employees to sleep at work or instituting policies around the practice, you can simply make it known that it’s an option for them. This can help reduce some of the stigma that can be seen around sleeping at work.

You should also share information to help people draw their own conclusions. Clearly explain and demonstrate how office naps can benefit productivity, whether it’s through sharing statistics about burnout, articles on the benefits of sleep, or even just leading by your own example. Overall, helping people understand why something is important is a better tact than simply giving a directive or implementing changes without their input.

Hobsbawm says, “I’m not interested in just talking about mindfulness and wellbeing as this feel good idea. I believe that the idea of wellbeing is about respecting yourself and the people who work for you as you all work toward your productivity goals.”

Some employees might love the opportunity to sleep at work. Others may prefer to reset in a different way. Simply give people the information they need to make an informed decision and support their health and productivity in the way that best suits their working style.

Nap at Work Products

You can also supply products or share information that makes the actual process of taking naps at work easier.

If you want to make a real investment in this area, there are office nap furniture products available to help you create a specific area for this purpose. For example, you can set up nap pods or invest in chairs that recline fully to give people a comfortable place for a quick power nap.

However, Hobsbawm isn’t convinced that nap pods or office nap furniture are always necessary. She’s been taking naps at work for years simply by leaning back in her own chair and using a couple of additional products to make the experience more comfortable. She uses the following nap at work products:

  • Sleep mask
  • Ear phones
  • Sleep apps
  • Blanket

She simply makes sure the room is warm and comfortable, leans back and takes a few minutes to calm her mind. Then she takes a quick power nap and wakes up refreshed for the rest of the work day.

Hobsbawm says, “As someone who has been doing this personally for about six years, I have to say that it feels fantastic, not just some of the time, but all the time.”

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

5 Reactions
  1. I’ve always been a fan of napping during the day. If you trust your employees to get their work done and put in the time they’re committed to give then it should be pretty easy. Let each employee decide what works best for them.

    • I totally agree, Robert.

      It’s honestly a little funny that we’re talking about napping at work, BUT when you have a great employee that shows up (and really just needs a 30 minute nap because of something else going on in their life) I want them to know that our studio office is a place where they can be comfortable enough to do so…

      Not saying that I want employees to sleep at work, but simply that they should know that our office is a place that will support them when they go through those crazy moments in life.

  2. It seems to work well in certain European countries. I think it would be an individual thing as power naps work for some but not for others, this is before we tackle the snoring issue of course!

  3. Napping can actually contribute to productivity. So this may help your employees become more productive.