Is office napping the solution for work fatigue?

Attending work meetings is certainly supposed to have a clear objective: to promote efficiency within the company. This is, of course, impossible if the employees who have turned up to the meeting are half-asleep.

In fact, a good number of employees reach their lowest point of productivity right after lunch. Due to a combination of digestion and fatigue, employee efficiency basically hits rock bottom. But how can this be rectified? How can you ensure the efficiency of meetings and of your company’s general tasks? The solution is simple: allow employees to take naps in the office. Its benefits for the health of your company are huge, as we’ll explain below.

Having a nap boosts your efficiency for the rest of the working day

The primary benefit of office napping is that it enables employees to be much more efficient for the rest of the day. In fact, a short, 20-minute nap can recharge our batteries and make us more productive. And after all, isn’t that the same aim of the work meetings that we organise within our companies? So don’t hesitate to make use of this logical and simple way to boost productivity – not only for your meetings, but for the business as a whole. Give your employees the freedom to re-energise themselves between meetings.

26% of employees have siestas in secret

Napping isn’t just practised by “lazy” people – siestas are a tradition in many hot countries, where businesses even close up for a few hours in the afternoon. Don’t deprive employees of what they want; several sociological studies show that 26% of employees are already secretly having naps at work. And can we really blame them, especially when we know that the professional world has become quite intense and stressful? From this point of view, napping isn’t just a way to increase productivity – it seems to be more of a public health need than anything else.

Indeed, when more than a quarter of your workforce is already taking naps in the office, you can deduce that at least a quarter of your employees are so tired after lunch that they need to go to sleep, even at the risk of getting caught. Following this same reasoning, you can conclude that more than a quarter of your employees need to take a nap during their working day. If your number one objective is productivity, you should be able to establish this kind of set-up in your company, even if not everyone’s in favour of it. A nap should only last about 20 to 30 minutes, and the positive effects that it can have on a company’s short and long-term productivity means that you lose more than you gain by prohibiting napping at work.

A practice not widely accepted, even though many employees already claim to do it

Why do these employees take a small session of refreshing sleep? What are the results for them? Not only does the working day appear to pass more quickly – and therefore became more enjoyable – but they also became more productive and creative. But it doesn’t only benefit the employee who takes naps between meetings in London, after a training session in Manchester, or after a seminar in Geneva; it also benefits their employers, even if they are unaware that it’s happening within the walls of their company.

In some countries, siestas are a sacred institution

If you travel regularly, for example to Greece, you know that many shops, museums and other public places close at the beginning of the afternoon. In the land of Plato and Socrates, it’s completely natural to have a moment’s rest during the day, and the same goes for Italy. In Spain, it’s almost an institution. One study, also Greek, found that people who take siestas are less likely to suffer a cardiac arrest. Siestas are also a habit in many Latin American countries, such as Mexico. Although it’s more commonly practised  in warmer countries, you also find it in temperate regions, like Patagonia. It’s even popular in Russia, proving that it’s more of a matter of culture than climate.

Research on napping’s benefits

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have shown that naps boost the brain’s learning abilities. Other studies find that having a long working day does not make you more productive than when your work is condensed into a shorter period of time. All of these studies measuring productivity demonstrate that it is preferable to concentrate your work into a smaller number of hours, thus allowing the brain to rest.

How can you introduce napping in your workplace?

So if naps are indeed a real tool for boosting employee productivity, it’s worth knowing exactly how to integrate this practice into your workplace. Of course, every company has its own policies, but the idea of setting up rest areas or special rooms equipped with comfortable beds seems quite wise. Rooms like this already exist in certain start-ups or multinational internet companies, but those are more exceptions than the norm, so the jury is still out in that sense.

To sum up, we can once again highlight the benefits, as well as the need to take a nap between work meetings. Of course, it’s only a necessity if you want your employees to be more efficient and therefore more productive. If not, you can always go without naps – but then you wouldn’t see the benefits they bring to the productivity and creativity of your business. If you’re still cynical, why not simply try it out? You won’t regret it!