Why Your Employees Need a Nap—and How to Give Them One
By: Kelly Spors | March 5, 2019
People snoozing at their desks doesn’t exactly conjure the image of a high-energy, vibrant workplace environment that most companies today are shooting for. But getting a little shut-eye during the workday may benefit your business and your employees more than you realize.
In fact, research shows that midday naps actually improve productivity, problem-solving skills, creativity and memory—all things employees need to do their jobs effectively. They can also reduce stress and promote mindfulness.
So, how can you embrace a restful, low-stress workplace while still getting work done? In honor of National Napping Day (the first Monday after the return of Daylight Saving Time, or March 11, 2019), here are some ideas:
Embrace the ‘power nap’
A power nap—ideally 20 minutes—is a “nap that's long enough to get you through the day, but not so long that it makes you groggy or unable to sleep at night,” according to the National Sleep Foundation. You can teach employees how to take the ultimate power nap, such as using a sleep mask to create darkness, finding the best time (an hour or two after lunch, generally) and waking up promptly using an alarm and an energizing activity (such as jumping jacks).
Offer quiet spaces
Power naps and restful breaks are best taken in quiet, serene places, and many workplaces are too bustling for that. So, you may have to create a designated quiet space. It could be a closet or extra office you turn into a “mediation space,” or even a nap pod. Several large companies including Google and Zappos have been installing nap pods to give their workers a natural place to sleep, according to Inc.com.
Essential oils such as lavender, lemongrass and rosemary have been shown to promote feelings of relaxation, creativity and concentration. Having the right essential oils available in the office could thus help you achieve the relaxed or creative state you’re looking for. However, try to be respectful and mindful of your neighbor's preferences. Some co-workers may not appreciate the strong scents of essential oils or even have an allergic reaction. To prevent that, you can use small, personal diffusers (such as aromatherapy jewelry or pens) or designate a space where they can be diffused.
When you think about “wellness program,” you may think about the large corporate programs that offer free gym memberships and a laundry list of other health-related benefits to employees. But small and midsize companies can often create smaller-scale, yet more effective wellness initiatives that programs that promote work-life balance and overall health and wellness. It might be providing a weekly on-site yoga class or hosting a friendly workplace competition that encourages employees to exercise or sleep a certain number of hours each week. You can design a wellness initiative that meets the needs of your employees.
Don’t make the mistake of equating employee rest and relaxation with being lazy. In fact, they may be just what your employees need to feel rejuvenated and ready to work hard.
About the Author
Kelly Spors is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis. She previously worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering small business and entrepreneurship.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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