When most small business owners think about designing a work space, the last thing that enters their mind is finding a place for employees to rest their head in the middle of the work day. However, with companies like Google and Huffington Post offering nap pods for their employees, it may make you wonder whether you should do the same. To best answer that question, let’s first look at what benefits allowing employees to nap could possibly offer.
Benefits of Naps
While some look at daytime naps as increasing laziness and decreasing productivity, experts are declaring otherwise. For instance, Medical Daily shares research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that has found that naps can help reduce the effects of stress while bolstering the immune system at the same time. Both of these benefits can help limit the time your employees spend away from work due to health-related issues, whether via bugs or diseases. It also saves you (the employer) time and money, not to mention that it boosts the productivity levels of your staff because they feel better mentally as well as physically.
Prevention points to another study that discovered that resting actually increases the activity on the right side of the brain. What does this mean? It means an increased efficiency when it comes to organizing and processing information, as well as experiencing higher levels of creativity. Perhaps that is why some of our most creative inventors, like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, took time out of their innovative days and took a snooze. Just imagine what this could do for your staff!
Some other benefits that workers enjoy with a mid-day nap include feeling more alert, having an easier time learning new information, and experiencing less fatigue. Naps also generally result in better focus, a happier mood, improved memory, and more stamina. All of this translates into your employees getting more done in less time, which subsequently translates into you earning more profits and achieving higher business-related goals. It also means more effectiveness in meetings or when dealing with clients, as well as improved performance and an enhanced ability to problem solve. So, how do you make naptime at work, er, work?
If you are considering implementing a nap pod, room, or area for your employees (you might want to try it yourself too), here are a few tips that will help take mid-workday sleep time and make it the best that it can be for you as well as them:
- Create a sleep-friendly environment. By making the nap area conducive to sleeping, it will be easier for you and your staff to fall asleep quickly, thus making the best of the time spent there. Some comfort-inducing options to consider include making the room dark, using a white noise machine to cut out surrounding noise, and offering eye shades. If you don’t utilize nap pods due to their high costs, lying mats and pillows on the floor or making cots available are some less expensive options.
- Limit the naptime to 15-30 minutes for the greatest results. William Deardoff, Medical Advisor for Spine-health.com, reports that this timeframe of rest prevents your brain from entering the deep stages of sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed as opposed to groggy when you wake up. This is good news as this is the same amount of time that most employees get on their mid-afternoon break.
- Suggest that naps be taken between 1 and 3 PM. WebMD indicates that the two hours between 1 and 3 PM are “prime napping time.” Therefore, you should encourage your employees to take their 15-30 minutes then, if at all possible.
- Set an alarm. Be sure to have an alarm available in the nap area so that a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snooze doesn’t turn into an all-day affair. Another option is to use your cell phones and set the alarm to go off at the desired time.
- If you don’t have a designated nap space, offer viable alternatives. If you don’t have the space in your current building or location to add a nap area, you can also encourage your staff to take their naps in other areas. Some to consider are in their own offices, in a break room, or even in their personal vehicle.
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