Sleeping on the Job: How Companies are Implementing Relaxation into the Workday
What do sleeping pods, relaxation rooms, and mandatory work breaks have in common?
They all point to a changing shift in workplace perception of rest and sleep. In the past, those who were able to push the edges of their work lives as far as possible (coming early, staying late) and eliminate hours of sleep in the name of “productivity” were praised for their sacrifice and capabilities. However, as more and more research points to the need for 7-9 hours of sleep to be fully-functioning, companies are turning away from the notion that less sleep is equivalent to more productivity in favor of the idea that the better rested employees are, in fact, the more productive (and happy!) ones.
One of the first companies to implement this idea into the workplace was Ben & Jerry’s. Over a decade ago they installed a nap room into their headquarters, which is one of several amenities they offer to their employees, along with yoga classes and a gym. According to the Guardian, Ben & Jerry’s HR director Jane Goetschius states that these amenities are part of their goal to show employees they are appreciated. “We want you to bring your whole self [to work]. It builds more productivity,” she states.
Other companies following the trend include Google, Nike, and Hootsuite. Google installed nap pods into their office in Mountain View, CA that allow employees to take power naps when they feel they need to recharge. These napping pods offer ergonomic seating, a sliding panel to provide sensory blocking, and even an audio system for those who choose to fall asleep to relaxing music. When the timer goes off, the pods use gentle vibrations and light to wake the occupant. These pods were created by company MetroNaps, and businesses and companies around the world, including NASA and Samsung, are installing them.
Nike offers rooms to its employees for rest and meditation, along with giving their workers the flexibility to arrange their schedule as it best fits their internal clock.) They understand that different people focus better at different times of the day, and they take advantage of that principle. And Hootsuite (which we mentioned in our Twitter blog) has a room designed to look like a cozy cabin with cots, blankets, and pillows at its office in Vancouver for employees needing a break throughout the day.
Why aren’t companies worried about loss of employee time? Well, the recommended length of a power nap is only 20 minutes because it allows you to recharge without venturing too far into your sleep cycle, so you can still wake without feeling drowsy. Moreover, the benefits of allowing employees a nap is remarkable. Daytime naps help improve creativity, increase alertness, and improve mood. When people aren’t nodding off they are surprisingly productive. (Who knew?)
This trend towards accepting sleep, especially at major data and research companies, is coupled with other impressive benefits that employees are receiving. At Twitter, employees are provided three meals a day, free exercise and yoga classes, on-site game room, improv classes, and the kombucha on tap. Microsoft recently installed treehouse offices around its Redmond campus to help encourage creativity in the unusual office space. Clearly, sleep and fun are not the enemies of productivity, but rather its counterparts.
Sleep is important, as is employee morale. Has this article inspired you to take a nap? Us, too! If the prospect of designing a beautiful website or maintaining active social media accounts has made you exhausted, be sure to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can take care of everything so that you can get the rest you deserve.