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Should employees be allowed to nap at work?

By Ian Elliot

Throughout my career at AllyO, I have had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful people working in the HR field for various companies and industries. In my conversations with them, I can’t help but ask them one of my favorite questions…

“What has been the most crazy thing you have heard during a job interview?”

This question prompts some interesting responses. Some being quite humorous to some being more insightful. One of my favorite responses is the following:

“A candidate asked me one time what our nap time policy was. I had to explain to him we didn’t have one and that naps were strongly discouraged. He was a good candidate, but he never responded to requests for second interviews“

This brought up an interesting thought. To some, napping at work is utterly ridiculous. For others, it is an essential perk believed to boost the productivity of employees. Having had the napping debate here at AllyO, I decided to do a little research.

In past decades, napping at work was considered a taboo topic. Reasons for this range to our deep history of being a manufacturing heavy workforce with rigid working hours and structure. In recent times, manufacturing jobs have transformed into office and service jobs, shifting the working hours and culture of the American workforce and leading many companies to rethink their napping policy.

Nowadays, companies such as Google and Uber have encouraged nap times at work, going as far as setting up rooms specifically for napping. The rooms were designed not only with napping in mind, but also to make employees more comfortable at work so they are willing to stay longer in the office. Daniel Radcliffe, a key influencer of Google’s naptime policy said, “No workplace is complete without a nap pod. We found that the five-minute to 15 minute power nap, works on Sunday before you watch the football game, why not here at work?”

But not all companies are warming up to napping. Some executives and employers still equate napping with slacking off, claims Terry Calle, a sleep expert who encourages companies to implement napping. “Some large companies have workout areas or gyms on-site and yet we’re turning a blind eye to sleep and it’s a biological necessity,” she says.

Instituting a pro-nap policy at your workforce, however, takes more than turning a blind eye to employees napping at their desk. Companies that have successful nap time policies that drive productivity requires smart investments. For example, specific rooms should be created to allow for a nap. Some companies even go as far as organize nap parties or recommend set schedules for employees to nap.

As the practice of company sponsored naps is catching on, more and more potential employees will have it on their minds during an interview. This seemingly minuscule employee perk could be the difference between an applicant wanting to work for your company, or taking his talent elsewhere. It would be a good idea for HR teams at companies to start asking themselves if encouraging napping is an aspect of company culture they want branded to their company.

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