Time for a siesta?


These days, people skimp on sleep to keep up with strict deadline at work and household chores. In office, they spend a significant part of their afternoon staring blankly at the computer screen, or pinching themselves or having a dose of caffeine to stay awake during a meeting. Is your afternoon any different? Not really. So, what is the solution? What if your company allows you to take a nap break? Sounds interesting?
A power nap is defined as a short nap during the day of about 20-30 minutes duration.Studies show that power naps of 15 to 30 minutes, increase working memory , the ability to focus attention on one task while holding other tasks in memory , which is critical when performing complex work. Work and rest have a symbiotic relationship where one cannot happen in the absence of the other. A startup requires high energy , productive work environment and creative contribution all of which can leave little time to relax.There have been many studies conducted over this much debated topic, but the most agreed upon conclusion is that napping can indeed make you a more productive employee. Sleep deprivation can not only lead to less productivity, but also increase the risk of illness. A NASA study backs up the claim. The study shows that a nap of just 26 minutes can boost performance by as much as 34 per cent. Therefore, it can be safely said that a power nap could benefit the company positively. NAP AT WORK

Giving a different perspective, Power naps can reduce the sleep deficits and boost the cognitive ability of brains so as to improve alertness, perceptiveness and energy levels. Having said that, if the power naps are extended, one can tend to get into sleep inertia getting you all groggy and drowsy as opposed to pepped up and running! Short naps can improve one’s declarative memory , but if the short naps turn to siesta, the employee ends up feeling disoriented and sleepy as also the office hours impacted.

It is a critical situation, with continuously increasing working hours, people are left with very less time to rejuvenate themselves. Sleep is a very important part of a person’s well-being, and well-being of any employee is very important for any company .The consequences of sleep deprivation can be decreased productivity , reduced performance and alertness.

However, not everyone thinks that napping at work is a good idea. Taking a nap in office is not the point. If you sleep well at home, then there is no need to sleep in office. I don’t think offices should be allowing employees to take a nap at work. The practice will not be sustainable. If an employee is working till the wee hours in office, then companies should ensure that the employee gets sufficient rest before heading home. I strongly believe that offices should have some quiet place to read a magazine, or listen to some light music, a small cabin bay where they can rest and rejuvenate.

Falling asleep on the job is regarded as something against work ethics, but should it be that way? The first reaction you are likely to get when asked if you favour employees napping in office is ‘are you kidding me?’ But, maybe not. Like any policy or culture that an organisation promotes, this one has no right or wrong answer. It depends on the work environment, the work force demographics and, of course, business imperatives.

Again, having a different point of view, Napping at work can be a fantastic approach for both the company and the employees. It can improve the productivity of the employees, make them feel more empowered and, in turn, make the organisation a better place to work.

Adapting western culture, some organisations have started coming up with ‘napping corners’ or ‘nap rooms’ complete with reclining chairs or ergonomically designed chairsloungers.

Considering it is a novel concept, this concept is still not well accepted in India.