The nap concept refers to a short nap break, usually in the afternoon which lasts between 10 and 30 minutes (Mednick & Mednick, 2006). It is a sort of sleep that helps employees to take a breather from the day"s work. This arises from the fact that human bodies are weakened by the afternoon heat and the metabolic processes that arise from eating. Therefore, contrary to past belief that such naps arose from acts of laziness, they are now backed by scientific facts. Thus, an employee who takes a short nap is more rejuvenated than an employee who does not. Rejuvenation refers to restoration of an individual back to initial state of freshness. A number of employers prefer giving their employees a coffee break than a nap time to rejuvenate which has been proved not to be efficient. Most companies in this competitive economy do not like the nap concept, but they are forced to embrace it at the end of the day due to reduced productivity resulting from employee deprivation of sleep. Deprivation of sleep is estimated to cost U.S. business an amount of 18 billion annually (Paul, 1998).
The nap room, therefore, refers to a specific place that is meant for relation of employees provided by the human resource department and it can be on a couch, a floor, a bed or even a car. The room should provide full relaxation and comfort for the employees both mentally and physically (McShane, 2003). Such comforting and relaxation atmosphere offers them with a chance to meditate and think critically. Napping also helps in boosting alertness and creativity. Scientifically, the workplace nap is a low cost natural process that increases productivity of workers since it improves individuals" creativity and alertness.
A growing number of business corporations countrywide consider "sleeping on the job" (as the concept is referred to casually), as a great benefit. Research has shown that most working Americans fail to get enough bedtime sleep due to their tight schedules during the working hours. They are preoccupied with such activities like travelling to and from workstations, taking their kids to school, overseeing their kids" school homework, household chores, etc. This culture of working throughout has led to a nation that is sleep deprived with a majority of the people compromising their sleep so as to get through all their activities. Consequently, such corporations argue that it is better for staff members to take a short nap rather than have them busy snoring at their desks (Brown, 2009). This has pushed companies such as Nationwide Planning to put in place a nap room with an adjustable seat that allows workers to take naps one worker at a time. Some companies have acquired Energy Pods, i.e. chairs that are specifically designed for power naps at the workplace. Energy Pods are a common feature at Google offices.
More emphasis on the benefits of incorporating knowledge learnt from science in to companies so as to boost their performance is being placed by the institutes of health in the U.S. The benefits of introducing studies on moods to various work places is one of the attempts of trying to close the gap between scientific knowledge and and its actual application in our lives. Major goals of the companies which have embraced the napping concept is to give more emphasis on this concept so that employers and employees who have embraced this concept can change behaviour of a worker and, hence, the policies that employers have adopted on napping.
Research studies on indicate a positive correlation between napping which controls our moods and performance of individuals on their working places. Napping companies are controlled by 5 principles of transfer of knowledge to their employees in a bid to utilize scientific knowledge on napping research. Major limitations to people are trying to utilize knowledge that has been researched on about napping and this one of the reasons as to why underperforming companies continue to maintain their status. Scholars in medicine have noted the fact that communities often show little interest in utilizing and disseminating knowledge generated from scientific research. Scientific knowledge is not always utilized by the non scientific community though it is still useful to them. Most researchers should come up with messages attached with evidence communicating the essence of their studies on napping and this will in a great way enable most organizations to adopt the napping concept, hence, boosting the economy.
According to Redeker and McEnany (2011), sleep deprivation hugely affects the nation. Research studies have shown that over a fifth of the American working population work another shift in addition to the typical daytime shift. This is as a result of irregular schedules arranged by the employer. Further, most of the Americans who work outside the usual working hours engage in these jobs so as to satisfy personal needs such as childcare, education or for better pay, etc. (Brooks & Lack, 2006). Those who have overachieved used to term sleep as belonging to losers. Social culture also promotes sleeplessness. Giving support to the culture of sleeplessness is not sensual and is also downright dangerous. The ideal time for sleeping in order for someone to be successful is now eight hours; currently, nearly two thirds of adults get enough sleep.
Deprivation of sleep is not a health hazard to individuals only, but also to the public (Czeisler, 2006). Sleepy workers are less productive and incur large costs of health care as well as being a liability to the corporate. Most cases of human errors are caused by sleep deprivation with studies showing that 90% of accidents in the workplace are caused by this factor. (Time, 1990). For instance, in the U.S deprivation of sleep is responsible for eight thousand deaths annually as well as 1/5 of all motor vehicle accidents. This is as a result of 80% of all drivers falling asleep while on the steering wheel. 10% of them swerve off the road and in every 2 minutes one of them crushes (Cseizler 2006). Employees who are sleepy possess extremely dangerous levels of impairment equal to those individuals who abuse drugs.
According to estimates of the National Transportation Safety Board, out of a hundred thousand crushes, one thousand five hundred fatalities and seventy one thousand injuries were due to drivers who swerved off the road due to sleep. Majority of motor vehicle accidents take place during the night rather than at a day time. Workers who work on shifts cause most of the accidents or near misses as a result of sleepiness as they drive.
Deprivation of sleep is a major concern in the truck industry as many drivers are prone of going in and out of sleep when driving (Dougan, 1998). Disasters such as Exxon Valdez, Mile Island and Bhopal has been associated with employees suffering from sleeplessness. It was concluded by a presidential commission that the group which was working on the space shuttle suffered from serious sleep deprivation and this loss could be avoided if the crew would have had sufficient sleep making them to be keen on their space shuttle mission.
A way of increasing efficiency in the organization lies in allowing employees to take naps. This has proved to increase employee alertness, hence, increased productivity. However, research has shown that many employers do not allow their employees to take naps despite the advantages it has. Roughly one 1% of employers allow their employees to take naps in their respective places of work.
In countries like China, Greece, India, North Africa and Italy taking short naps has been practiced for ages. This approach developed from the fact that after taking a meal human brain produces chemicals making one tired. It was approximated that one needs 30-40 minutes in order to rejuvenate. From the siesta culture now supported by scientific research, short naps have indicated an increase in one"s moods and alertness. In countries such as Australia, interns, firemen, doctors and truck drivers are allowed to have short naps in the afternoon. It is worth mentioning that the managing director of Deloitle Consultancy Company Mr. David Johnson believes that an increase in production of his company is a result of introduction of a nap room. Also the president of Yarded Metals, Craig Yarded believes that short naps increase employee efficiency, sales, productivity and the stock turnover. According to a survey conducted by students of Boston University, seventy percent of the respondents accepted that nap at work increases production in their organization. A ten by twelve nap room was installed by Gould Evans and from the spokesman of the organization there was no objection on using the facility. Workers of this organization claimed that napping helps them to be revitalized and refreshed (Meyer, 2001).
According to a research by Harvard University, a nap lasting for one hour led to programmers writing better codes. The research found out that sleep enables the brain to bring together memories of action and any techniques learned during the day. It also leads to restoration of overused brain circuits. The researchers came to a conclusion that even naps less than an hour enables individuals process information faster (Jackson, 2003). Naps of between fifteen to twenty minutes enable employees to bring their focus back on track and increase their overall performance. Taking a nap is a must for some professions such as workers working on night shifts, pilots and truck drivers. However, American employers continue to dispute this fact despite evidences for.
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Nap sessions are a common feature of culture in many countries such as Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, Japan, Argentina and Portugal. For instance, Spaniards take siestas, Germans have eon Schaefer, Japanese like to power snooze. Siesta which is a Spanish word refers to the mid of the day or the 6th hour. For example, in Argentina work begins at 8 in the morning until noon then workers have a siesta. The workers then resume work at four o"clock and continue working until eight in the evening. Roughly forty to sixty percent of adults in the world embrace napping in one way or another.
Ben and Jerry Ice Cream does not have any particular way of napping but facilitates napping on shifts and have a strong feeling that napping allows employees to refresh. The director of Time Warner says that 2 beds are used by workers who are tired and want to snooze (Haupt, 1993). Workers are taking advantage of nap rooms available in Mac world and Pc World. These nap rooms are fully equipped with two futons inclusive of privacy curtains and down comforters (Flynn, 1994). Companies such as California Consulting firms have reduced the costs of coffee and soda by thirty percent with introduction of napping culture (Paul, 1998). The owner of public television Mr. Jim Lehrer closes the door of his office everyday at twelve thirty noon for an hour in order for napping (Markel"s, 1995) .
However, other companies continue to raise concerns over "napping place". They are raising questions such as who is to supply pillows, mattresses and beds, should gender be considered in napping places. Metro Naps which is a company supplying sleeping pods has come up with answers to these questions. Chair conforms to scientifically proved positions of napping which require that the legs should be at the same position as the heart. The nap nods also have sound proof domes which provide privacy and timer. In addition to providing a space for napping.
Napping is said to be an indulgence that is allowed perhaps to idiosyncratic greats such as Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein. Winston Churchill is another famous personality who took short naps. Churchill once said to his fellow workmates, "do not be cheated that you will be doing little work because of sleeping in the course of the day. That"s a lame notion held by individuals with no imagination." One of the professors of physiology at Harvard school of medicine gives a recommendation that organizations should come up with policies of napping mainly because deprivation of sleep leads to short-term loss of memory, productivity and alertness. Baby boomers are credited for a more slow and comfortable environment of work. They were the 1st to wear jeans to school and they also now wear them to work. These bloomers developed a change in the attitude of America towards work. Many families in America are focusing on developing a balance between work and family among other activities. Work has a great importance, but it is not everything so organizations should also be mindful of the welfares of its employees in order to increase productivity.
In order to distinguish their nap room from perception that napping is for lazy people, Nationwide Planning calls theirs a "rejuvenation center" thus, making people have a more positive attitude towards it. Since the introduction of this rejuvenation center, the company bosses have noticed that employees became happier and more productive. The workers now approach the second part of the day with a lot more force and enthusiasm than ever before.
A 2011 survey discovered that over 43% of average Americans report that they lack sufficient sleep (Harvard University, 2013). This has, in turn, led made company executives to claim that the nap breaks are going to be the new tea breaks since the lack of enough sleep affects all classes of American citizens, the rich and poor, the executives and the non-executives. For example, Arianna Huffington, the founder and president of Huffington Post is one of the main believers of importance of taking a workplace nap. She asserts that sleep makes workers to be more creative and productive, reduces stress and makes them happier and healthier.
The need for napping cuts across various sectors and affects diverse stakeholders (Jackson. 2000). As mentioned above, it is estimated that U.S companies lose over $18 billion yearly due to lack of adequate sleep, which in turn, reduces productivity and profits. This consequently leads these companies to accept this new trend as a form of incentive for motivating their staff whether junior or senior. Managers and business owners hold employee productivity in high regard and any action that can help in improving the companies productivity and revenues is easily accepted (Baxter, 2011). As such many leading global corporations are ever competing in the kind of perks they give to their staff. This has led to a trend of workplace perks such as the napping and breastfeeding rooms, gyms and baby-care facilities so as to increase productivity.
Frey (2007), says that the naps are also very crucial to the health of the average low-income and middle-income employees since research findings indicate that adult Americans get less than the required average number of sleeping hours. Furthermore, about 20% of Americans suffer from sleepiness during the day and at workplace. This sleepiness syndrome is known to inhibit thinking, causes memory loss and leads to extreme levels of stress (Lerman et al., 2012). Thus, with such symptoms, an employee"s performance standards are greatly affected. Hence, a nap room is a vital necessity in the life of a regular employee in any given workstation.
Relationship between the Nap Room Concept and Human Resource Management Practices
Previously, firms considered exercising, good diet and eating practices as the fundamental qualities that improve productivity in employees. However, it has been noted from scientific research that adequate sleep as well as mid-day nap at the workplace are crucial for enhancing productivity (Kryger, Thomas & Dement, 2010). The director of Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University in England says that the naps help employees reduce their sleepiness without affecting their night sleep. Nevertheless, afternoon naps should not be taken as permanent replacement for deprived sleep.
In relation to recruitment, an afternoon nap holds an irrefutable appeal for busy employees. Despite its numerous benefits, several sleep experts warn against going overboard in justifying the need for the nap at work. They argue of unintended repercussions such as employees getting accustomed to nap practice. In the worst case scenario, it can lead to one being fired. This, they argue, can arise from a scenario where employees go to bes late at night since they are aware of availability of daytime nap.
With improved productivity that arises from the nap rooms, a firm is able to generate more revenue and eventually obtain better profit margins than those that lack the rooms. Consequently, with the high profits, these companies are able to recruit the most qualified individuals while at the same time offering the best remuneration packages and benefits in the market.
According to Anthony & Anthony (2004), napping improves performance management. For example, findings have shown that napping improves employees" performance. Furthermore, it is also a no cost and none tedious method for improving workers" productivity. Thus, in addition to being beneficial to the individual, it is also beneficial to the management and the company as a whole.
Napping has also been observed to have positive impact on orientation and socialization of new employees (McPhee, 2006). Since the naps are taken outside the office, employees are in a better position to chat and discuss different issues. Therefore, relaxed environment offers room for a more relaxed approach to issues and a feeling of openness towards each other. Quite recently, most organizations have been partnering towards developing joint nap rooms where their staff can take a nap together. This helps new and existing employees to mingle with their counterparts from other companies, thus, helps in improving the social life.
The management of business corporations should embrace the concept of nap rooms so as to capitalize on the increased productivity. In order to combat workplace fatigue which is correlated to the length of sleep and the time of sleeping, the nap rooms would be vital tools. Furthermore, they would help in reducing the effects and aftermath of insufficient sleep such as headache, fever, dizziness and memory loss.
It has also been observed that shift work schedules have an impact on both the duration and the time of sleep. Consequently, insufficient sleeping duration has been scientifically proven to increase the likelihood of injury (Westcombe & Green, 2012). However, in order to reduce the likelihood of employees extending their napping time or misusing the privilege, the corporations should acquire nap room facilities that are time-programmed and allow a limited number of workers to take the nap at any given time. This will ensure that there is no total absence of workers from the respective workstations.
However, for employees performing risky jobs, the guidelines on the hours-of-service alone cannot fully accomplish the objective of making the most of attentiveness as asserted by Crouched (2004). Research has further found out that the level of attentiveness in an employee depends both on the number of hours spent working as well as on other factors such as the kind of work one performs, the time spend at work in the ratio to number of hours of sleeping (circadian rhythm), the work environment, measures for detecting fatigue, whether employees get enough sleep at home or they indulge in other activities while away from workplaces, do employees have good sleeping environments at home that promote high-quality sleep, occurrence of physical, psychological, emotional or medical problems that are interfering with an employee"s sleep, etc.
Anthony (2004), argues that the nap room concept is, however, inapplicable in some industries. For instance, there are jobs that are entirely carried outdoors such as a news reporting, traffic policing, etc. In such situations, an employer is not able to provide nap rooms to his staff. This concept mainly applies in office setup jobs and manufacturing sector jobs. However, some manufacturing companies have shorter shift work schedules, thus, there is less need for nap rooms.
Though napping becomes a common practice at workplaces in many corporations, the approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Based on scientific evidence, advantages of the approach outweigh disadvantages and as a result, the nap room concept has to be promoted and accepted by the companies that have not yet taken the initiative. Nonetheless, attaining a productive nap at the office is a challenging task. Sleep scientists such as Dr. Sara Mednick say that before taking a nap, one should:
1. Provide Time and Space
Sleep scientists say that the best time for a nap is in the early afternoon when the chemicals released during the metabolic processes start straining the body.
2. Set the Right Conditions
Studies show that the brains produce more melatonin, the hormone that triggers sleep. Thus, for a good nap, one should turn the lights off or even use a sleeping mask. The temperature in the room should be warm., One also should use a pillow for comfort. Also to limit the amount of external disturbance, one should switch off their cell phone.
3. Avoid Sleep-Depriving Chemicals
One should desist from taking caffeine-containing substances like coffee or tea a few hours before taking a nap. Other substances such as nicotine, diet pills, alcohol and antidepressants have to be excluded.