Research has shown that napping can increase workers' alertness while also offering emotional and energy boosts.


The discussion of sleep hour and its relation to productivity has been lurking around for quite some time. However, the conversation is even more pressing now than ever, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditionally, people commute to their offices, spend hours working, commute back home, then repeat the process the next day. However, the pandemic occurred, and it shifted the whole landscape of the working environment into a new, never-before-seen setup. Some firms may have practiced it before the pandemic, but working from home has never been exercised on such a massive scale.

Working from home has its advantages. Workers do not have to spend time commuting, they do not have to wear formal clothes, and, of course, they can nap. With this telecommuting setup, many people are getting used to napping. An April 2020 survey by Zippia found 33 percent of U.S. workers admit to napping while working from home, and in some states, the number reaches as high as 67%.

Yet, considering the declining infection rate, a growing number of companies are summoning their employees back to the office. And the convention is: napping is taboo. You are not allowed to do it, and you will be judged for it. You might need to get rid of your napping habit before you get back to the office... or do you?

Power nap and productivity
Why aren't people allowed to nap in the office? One company may say this, and the other may say the opposite. But the crucial question is: what if napping helps improve workers' productivity?

Research by Pedro Bessone and Frank Schilbach found that after more than three weeks of daily 30-minute naps, employees were showing a 2.3 percent increase in productivity. Not only were workers' productivity increased, but they also invested more money into their savings accounts.

"These findings serve as a proof of concept that sleep can affect important economic outcomes relatively quickly," wrote the two MIT economists.

Companies and napping policies
A London-based consultant group, ProNappers, has been trying to illustrate that a quick nap can be beneficial for the workforce, and many companies agree. But when asked to facilitate that, companies usually backed up pretty quickly.

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"We often preach to the converted when we talk to the well-meaning folks in charge of well-being in companies… but when it comes to actually getting them to install a nap space or promote naps, we reach a brick wall," says CEO of ProNappers Cara Moore.

Napping may be taboo in most companies worldwide, but some companies think otherwise. Big tech firms like Meta and Google have "nap pods" in their offices. Ben & Jerry's and Nike also have dedicated nap spaces in their offices, all to their benefit. This shows that the policy can work — provided your company is willing to invest in it.

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