In times past, napping on the job would have gotten you fired, or at least seriously reprimanded, but that isn’t always the case in today’s workplace. With studies finding that a simple 26-minute nap can boost performance by as much as 34% and alertness by 54%, many employers have decided they’d rather have well-rested employees on the job and have added designated napping areas to their facilities (there’s still some napping under a desk George Costanza-style, however).
Alissa Alvarez contacted us to share an posted on her blog. While this isn’t a complete list of all the employers who’ll let you catch a few minutes of sleep throughout the day, it does give you a good idea of just how many big businesses are realizing that naps can be great for business. Here are some examples of places that are embracing the power of naps to help get the most out of employees.
Google is renowned for the perks employees can enjoy on the tech giant’s Mountain View, Calif. campus, and for good reason. Employees can take advantage of a gym, hair salon, game room, dry cleaning and laundry, gourmet food, on-site medical care, massage and meditation rooms, and, of course, napping pods. Called EnergyPods, these napping stations let exhausted Google employees enjoy a quick nap during the work day. They block out light and sound and are timed to wake employees once their nap is over, helping to ensure that employees won’t oversleep. Like many other employers on this list, Google believes that naps can help employees be more productive and creative, and with their ever-growing suite of web applications, the policy doesn’t seem to be doing them any harm.
Ben & Jerry’s
Natural ice cream producer Ben & Jerry’s is another business that endorses napping at work. The company wanted to ensure that all employees were happy and healthy, and sleep is an essential part of the health equation that Ben & Jerry’s didn’t want to overlook. The company’s headquarters is home to a nap room, where those who need to catch 40 winks can come in for a quiet nap. When asked about the napping perk one employee said, “It’s great to be able to just get away and then come back ready to go after it,” and you can’t blame them for loving this awesome at-work perk.
Online retailer Zappos is known worldwide for its amazing customer service, but it’s not just customers they’re treating well. The company provides employees with perks like free lunch, free coffee, and fully-paid health benefits, but one of their newest benefits is on-site napping rooms. At the company’s Nevada headquarters, employees can take a few minutes away from work to head into one of the napping rooms. The rooms were upgraded from couches to napping pods, but employees lobbied to get their couches back, finding them more relaxing and comfortable than the fancy nap pods.
The Oregon offices of this athletic apparel giant are home to some pretty great perks for employees. In addition to amazing benefits like on-site gyms and childcare facilities, employees of Nike can take advantage of the company’s quiet rooms, which can be used for napping or meditation. The company doesn’t just provide space for naps, however, but actively encourages sleep-deprived employees to nap, with the aim of increasing productivity, health, and happiness on the job.
The Huffington Post’s namesake, Ariana Huffington, is a big advocate of workplace napping and has given numerous talks on the value of being well-rested. It should come as no surprise then that at the shared offices of this online blogging giant and AOL, napping is not only allowed but actually encouraged. Employees can rest up in facilities referred to as “NapQuest” rooms, which are outfitted with the same nap pods found at Google. According to employees, the nap rooms are incredibly popular and stay pretty well occupied throughout the day with napping employees.
While you’re not likely to find workers napping in the open at your local Pizza Hut franchise (one would hope, anyway) the company doesn’t frown on sleeping at work. Pizza Hut is one of a growing number of employers taking a pro-nap stance, allowing employees to take a nap on their breaks, no questions asked. While it may not provide the fancy napping rooms offered by other companies, workers at this fast food giant can still find time and space to rest while working, and that may be all that matters when it comes to boosting job performance.
Employees at this consulting firm won’t get in trouble for sneaking off to take a nap during the middle of the work day. In fact, the company actually supports the practice and has created several nap rooms for employees. Equipped with comfy furniture and black-out shades, the rooms are a popular place for not only lower-level employees but managers and upper-level employees as well. While in full-swing now, employees report that it took awhile for the idea to catch on, as many felt guilty leaving work to nap and that this was not an effective way to manage time. As many saw their bosses taking advantage of the nap rooms, napping in the company’s office has become much more common and doesn’t seem to have hurt their bottom line.
If there’s anyone you don’t want falling asleep at work, it’s a pilot. That’s why British Airways is one of many travel-based businesses allowing employees to snooze anytime they have free time or when there’s someone else to stand in for them. Pilots are allowed to sleep during long international flights while colleagues take over the controls, though the practice is prohibited on domestic flights by the FAA. Other airlines, like Continental, also allow napping, as do the bulk of major train travel companies, which should help us all feel a little safer.
Employees of Workman Publishing have taken a page right out of an episode of Seinfeld when it comes to napping at work. Rather than have a designated napping area, employees sleep under their desks or behind room divider screens. Other workers bring their own mats and lay down on the floor, preschool style. The higher-ups at Workman don’t judge and promote the practice, however employees choose to do it. Says Workman’s editor-in-chief Susan Bolotin, “We’ve seen very positive effects. I keep a nap mat in my office, and I’m still known to lie down, put my sleep mask on, and see what happens.” She’s also distributed sleep masks to her employees and offers up her office floor for naps when she’s not using it.
Yarde Metals was one of the first businesses to really embrace napping on the job, building a nap room into its office space way back in 1995. The company was fairly small at the time and employees weren’t sure what to make of the boss-sanctioned napping, but things have changed as the company has expanded and now each office of the large company comes complete with its own napping room. Craig Yarde, founder of the company, laughs about the popularity of nap rooms in today’s work culture, stating, “It’s funny how these things go. It went from being totally ridiculous to being cutting edge now.” Yarde doesn’t regret his decision, after seeing firsthand what naps at work can do for productivity and morale.
Alissa Alvarez contacted us to share this article on her blog for Online MBAs.