Imagine being at your office desk, vigorously tapping keys on your keyboard to draft a report due in two hours. You are almost done and all you would need is a quick look-through, but you feel too tired to function anymore. So you head over to your office’s nap room for a power nap. You rest for a sweet 20-minute period then head back to your desk, feeling refreshed. Sounds like a dream come true?
Surprisingly, such dreamy office practices are gradually turning into reality, with multinational corporations such as Google, Facebook, Nike, Uber, P&G, etc. setting up designated nap rooms and installing nap pods along with promoting other de-stressing activities within their campuses. And it is not just these industry giants that are adopting this healthy practice. Many organizations, for instance startups employing a huge number of millennial workforce, have started taking initiatives towards promoting a culture of stress-free work environment.
While technology has been a boon to the mankind in most of the aspects, it has also brought with it a work culture that employees all around the world dread. Gone are the days when work used to be a nine-to-five schedule followed by a peaceful evening spent with the kin or in solitude. With technology in our very palms, emails are being constantly checked, assignments are being submitted, follow ups are being taken, and tasks are being monitored 24x7. Employees are now expected to work for as many hours as possible to complete a certain task even if it requires them to skip plans, meals or sleep.
Subconscious promotion of such kind of a work culture across the globe has become a grave problem, as this is hampering both the employees’ well-being as well as their productivity. In India, the issue is believed to be even more severe, with a 2015 study stating how 93% Indians are sleep-deprived, 58% believe that their work suffers hugely because of the same, and 11% confide having taken a leave from their office because they could not cope with sleep deprivation.
Neuroscientists have researched about the correlation between an insufficient amount of sleep and delayed executional functions of the brain such as problem solving, planning, reasoning, and organizing, etc. It is extremely hard for an employee to stay proactive and productive throughout, in the absence of a good rest time. Sleep deprivation, therefore, does not just affect an individual’s health but is bad for organizational health as well.
On the other hand, the benefits of even a short afternoon nap are many: it refreshes the brain, restores energy, helps regain concentration, enhances creativity and productivity, improves cognitive functions, and even reduces anxiety and depression. This proves to be highly beneficial for an individual who feels too stressed to cope from lack of sleep, thereby letting their work suffer. Psychiatrists and sleep specialists have also corroborated the stance, and have regarded short afternoon naps to have a positive effect on one’s mood, attention and vigilance.
More and more companies have now begun to realize the importance of a good sleep and have begun considering the issue on a more serious note. They have started establishing nap rooms at their offices and encouraging their staff to prevent work and take a nap for some time. Even co-working spaces, that are already renowned for challenging conventional corporate practices, are encouraging their members to embrace their quick afternoon sleep. These establishments have begun installing cozy amenities in their campuses to provide a relaxing atmosphere for the members to snooze in for a bit before they resume their work. Such spaces with their spacious, comfortable and relaxing ambience have specially succeeded in attracting the millennial workforce that has been looking for avenues to de-stress while at work. It seems as though the two eternal enemies—sleep and work—have finally made peace in the modern work culture, thereby developing a productive, refreshed and well-rested workforce in the process!