Power Napping at Work Increases Productivity

By Ritu_Mehrotra on Tue, 02 July 2013 at 16:58 IST
Power Napping at Work Increases Productivity

Power Napping at Work Increases Productivity

Gone are the days when boss may fire you or your reputation will get affected if they find you sleeping at your desk. At a growing number of multi-nationals and corporates across the country, short sleep on the job is considered a good thing. As the sleep experts have also applauded this theory, infact, the employers are encouraging the construction of a dorm room at their workplace.

Office naptime is becoming a common phenomenon at workplace across the world. Many of the MNCs and top corporates started adopting and endorsing this practice for their employees. NASA has teamed up with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and 91 volunteers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine to teach astronauts how to nap better during long missions. For some, it's a company perk a kin to gym membership, or free lunch.

Several recent studies reveal medical explanations for why naps increase productivity, too. In 2010, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley confirmed that napping can improve the brain's ability to retain information, noting that a middle-of-the-day reprieve "not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neuro cognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before."

Two years earlier, at the University of Haifa in Israel, researchers found that naps help "speed up the process of long term memory consolidation," while the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in Atlanta concluded in 2007 that a short catnap during the day "may be a useful strategy to improve not only mood but also job satisfaction".

According to sleep experts and psychologists it is always recommended that employees nap for 15-minutes when they feel sluggish to restore a sense of vitality to the workday. If we operate the human body, as we operate machinery, we would be accused of reckless endangerment. Just like machinery gets oiled, the human body needs to be nurtured and fed and it can be done through a short sleep during the daytime but at the same time a longer 45-minute or 60-minute nap, puts a person in Delta—or deep sleep, which leaves the person groggy upon waking up.

Big players of the industry are encouraging 15-30 minutes break as it is believed that instead of pushing yourself and getting sick and doing a bad job it is better to tell employees to take short rest and get back to work with a fresh mood. It helps people to recharge and work more creatively and effectively. To maximize gains from long-term practice, individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.

Since 2000 or so, researchers at Harvard and elsewhere have conducted dozens of experiments that have shown that sleep improves learning, memory, and creative thinking. In many cases, the edifying sleep has come in the form of a nap. For example, several studies have shown that if people are asked to memorize something — say, a list of words — and then take a nap, they will remember more of it than they would have if they hadn't taken the nap. Even catnaps of six minutes (not counting the five minutes it takes to fall asleep on average) have been shown to make a difference in how well people retain information.

Companies in the countries like US, Britain, New Zealand, etc, have adopted the "strategic napping" technique to retain their employees and get best results from their employees. The multi national companies in India also started adopting this strategy and have introduced a place called sleeping dorms or dormitories in the office campuses, especially for the people who work a night shift. Still at some places, sleeping during the office
hours considered as an offence.

There should be an understanding that the energy employees bring to their jobs is far more important in terms of the value of their work than is the number of hours they work. By managing energy more skillfully, it is possible to get more done, in less time, more sustainably. The companies adopting these changes for better being have realized that their employees are job satisfaction and staying longer with the organisation. This
secret is simple and generally applicable. Energy of human being is finite and hence it requires renewal in particular interval of time to be active, attentive and off course healthy.

Ritu has over 11 years of experience in various leadership positions across industries which include Retail, Healthcare and most recently IT. She joined Bristlecone in 2010, and has since then been actively contributing to the organization’s growth & helping transform human capital. In her role as the Head of Global HR and Talent Management, Ritu guides strategic programs around education, training, and leadership development. Ritu has executed and lead corporate development initiatives and strategies. Ritu is responsible for all major activities related to HR, recruitments and talent search for Bristlecone in India as well as all across the globe. Before taking on her current role, she was the Director - HR & Talent Management for India, Asia-Pacific & EMEA and Director - Global Recruitments. Prior to joining Bristlecone, Ritu spent several years in Canada in sourcing, supply chain planning & client management roles and has rich experience in starting business units from scratch. Ritu holds a Masters in International Business from IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade).