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Why should we normalise sleeping at work?

With most of us working from home during the pandemic, we’ve learned to appreciate the many advantages that flexibility has to offer. The ability to take regular breaks without feeling guilty as well as the ability to take a nap straight after lunch. As a result, we have regained control over our time, allowing us to be more calm and relaxed, which is why we believe one should be allowed to rest while at work. In some workplaces, sleeping is considered a gross misconduct and can lead to disciplinary action, or even termination of employment. This begs the question: why is sleep considered a sin, unprofessional or lazy? We feel that as a society we should eliminate the shame and stigma associated with napping at work, and normalise it!

Now that some of us are returning to the office, we would like to keep our afternoon naps. They allow us to be back to work full of energy and ready to be productive! Napping during the day has been demonstrated in multiple studies to boost not only productivity but also employee mood and wellbeing. We don't want employees to go back to the rigid ways that slay the joy of work and leave little room for freedom. Trust your employees to do their work, for as long as they are healthy and well-rested, they will be more productive, happier and produce better quality results, trust your people!

Inclusion and diversity are two important reasons as to why we should also normalise sleeping at work. Companies should be mindful of employees who might suffer from chronic fatigue due to hidden disabilities or health concerns that require regular rest breaks, or those who are pregnant and need to rest throughout the day. Some employees have long commutes, while others may simply be exhausted following a restless night's sleep, thus it makes sense for them to take a 10-20 minute power nap to feel much more energised.

Additionally, sleep loss can lead to decreased office productivity, increased absenteeism, workplace accidents and injuries, as well as motor vehicle accidents during commutes, especially in the presence of underlying sleep disorders. As a result, it may be more expensive for employers in the long run to deny their employees the opportunity to rest and enhance total daily sleep time with a brief power nap during working hours, rather than to prevent napping when necessary [1].

Sleeping at work is not something that will only benefit those working standard 9-5 office jobs. It also has the potential to have a significant impact on those working non-traditional hours or shift jobs. For example, Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD), affects employees who work different shifts, including night shifts. These people are our healthcare practitioners and drivers. Those suffering from SWSD experience symptoms such as sleeplessness and excessive tiredness, thus having rest areas to use during their breaks could be very beneficial to their safety and improve their performance.

Power naps are proven to promote not only productivity and creativity but also problem-solving and logical reasoning, according to research. Even those who are well-rested can benefit from frequent naps that improve alertness, performance, and stress relief.

Our current objective is to keep spreading the word about the benefits of napping in order to combat the many physical, mental, and financial effects of exhaustion. We intend to normalise and implement planned napping during work hours in the long run. As a result, we are getting closer to a society that appreciates napping and seeks to eliminate the stigma associated with taking a midday snooze. It should be noted that daytime naps and resting spaces such as beds and sleeping pods in the workplace are not a new phenomenon; they have already been incorporated into the workplace culture of global companies like Google, Uber, Nike, Cisco, Zappos, Huffington Post, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Procter & Gamble, and Ben & Jerry’s [1]

The pandemic has made us even more aware of how important it is to take care of our bodies, not just physically but also mentally. We have discovered the benefits of flexibility that come with having more time for ourselves and our loved ones. We have been able to adapt our schedule to allow for more time for ourselves and our wellbeing, so why should we change that now that we are back in the office? If anything, we should all continue to strive for that sweet work-life balance that allows us to take frequent breaks without feeling guilty or judged.

By creating and introducing resting spaces, we ensure everyone will be happy and feel more included, engaged and strengthen humane connections at work. As such, HR and wellbeing managers should strongly consider providing resting areas, whether that is sofas for quick breaks, or sleeping pods, where employees can take a little nap and recharge before continuing their workday. By introducing such initiatives and solutions, sleeping at work will become less stigmatised and eventually normalised for everyone.

If you are interested in learning more about sleeping pods we believe our product, the RestSpace, would be very beneficial for your company and employees. If you’d like to find out more about How Can Employers Support The Transition Back To The Office?, or What makes our Rest Space the best place to rest?, do Get in Touch with us to find out more about our RestSpace product.


[1] Sara E Alger, Allison J Brager, Vincent F Capaldi, Challenging the stigma of workplace napping, Sleep, Volume 42, Issue 8, August 2019, zsz097


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