Why top companies are encouraging ‘siesta’ at work

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A good power nap helps improve productivity and brain functioning.

Defying biological needs isn’t always a smart thing to do. In our modern lives, we have been used to doing exactly that.

For instance, the siesta (afternoon power nap) is good for our brains and also improves productivity. However, we have all grown up with the mindset that sleeping in the afternoon is a sign of laziness.

It has always been considered a stigma at the workplace.

Now, as we are looking at everything that was a norm for over years with a critical eye, and as we are trying to disrupt and change the way we live and work, the siesta is also getting a favourable nod at workplaces.

According to the World Economic Forum, many top companies across the world, including NASA, Google and Samsung are providing sleeping pods for employees to take a 20-minute power nap post lunch. The belief— and it has also been scientifically proven—is that the afternoon nap improves brain speed, boosts energy levels, and lowers the risk of heart disease.

Employees with improved reaction time, increased logical reasoning and better moods are always welcome. If all of this can be achieved through a quick afternoon power nap, why wouldn’t companies support this?

In 2016, a study —‘Why sleep matters: The economic costs of insufficient sleep’—by research organisation, The RAND Corporation, was conducted across five countries, covering 62,000 people. It revealed that insufficient sleep among workers costs the US economy up to $411 billion and 1.23 million workdays per year!

However, siesta doesn’t mean sleeping through the entire afternoon. The prescribed norm is a 20-minute power nap.

Now there are sleeping pods, which are particularly designed for power naps at work. The world’s first chair designed for napping in the workplace has been developed by a company called MetroNap. Called the EnergyPod, it combines luxurious comfort, innovative technology and timeless design. It comes with a timer and is pre-programmed for a 20-minute nap. It has a facility wherein it wakes up the user gently with a programmed combination of lights, music and vibration.

The ice cream brand, Ben & Jerry, has been one of the earliest adopters of the workplace napping policy. The ice cream company based in Burlington, Vermont has had an office nap room for more than a decade now, as it believes that a happy employee is a productive employee. Now it has become an integral part of the Company’s culture.

The athletic giant Nike is said to extend its commitment to health and wellness to employee benefits; at their headquarters near Portland, Oregon, staffers enjoy quiet rooms, where they can nap or even meditate during the day. 

PwC even invited sleep experts to speak to its employees about positive and negative sleep habits and the importance of a good power nap.

Aetna, a US-based insurance group, has introduced a sleep scheme to encourage employees to get their seven hours of shuteye each night. This is incentivised as well. For every 20 nights an employee sleeps seven hours or more, Aetna rewards them with $25. However, this is limited to $300 within a 12-month period. The hours they have slept can be recorded on fitness devices or self-reported by the staff, who are trusted to be honest.

So, the next time you find employees taking a nap at work, don’t ridicule them but encourage them!

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