Work Hard & Sleep Hard.

Marisa Keegan Audacious Ideas, Culture, Driving Productivity, Engagement and Satisfaction, Marisa Keegan

EmployeesSleepingLikeChildren It’s 2pm. I’m exhausted, have been hooked to a constant IV of caffeine since 8am, and can barely keep my eyes open. I’m sitting at my desk doing my damnedest to focus on my work, but I just can’t do it. Today is just one of those days.

I have two options. Option one: I can sit at my desk holding my eye lids open for four or five more hours, getting very little done. Option two: I can go to my car, set my alarm, and get in a 20 minute nap. I choose option two, and twenty minutes later I’m back at my desk, rejuvenated and ready to tackle the rest of my day.

In most companies, if I were caught taking a nap during the day I’d instantly be dubbed a slacker. But in 5% of U.S. companies (Google and Nike to name two) this idea of an afternoon nap is starting to catch on. Because I like to push the boundaries on how companies view their people-strategy, you can imagine that I am a whole hearted believer in having a nap-friendly environment.

Yes, I know, there are skeptics out there; people who are quick to list the million reasons why a nap-friendly work environment would never fly, but I’m willing to argue that it can fly – and can increase productivity.  Below are two reasons I think you should consider creating a nap-friendly work environment:

First, research shows over and over that when people take power naps, they have less stress, better cognitive response rates, and improved memory and learning ability.

Second, it’s a big step towards giving your employees the autonomy to decide how they spend their time as well as where/when/how they work best.

Let’s be real here, this post isn’t just about allowing your employees to nap at work. It’s about creating an environment that allows your employees some autonomy. Whether your employee is taking a nap, playing ping-pong, or watching TV, it’s all the same. It’s about creating an environment where employees can work hard and play hard. It’s just that sometimes, instead of playing hard, employees like to sleep hard.

In Japan, power naps are all the rage within companies, do you think they’ll ever catch on in the U.S? Why/why not?