Napping at Work: Acceptable or Irresponsible?

Napping at work

Karan Naik Career ,,

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never done it. We’ve all done it at some point in our adult lives. That euphoric feeling you experience after you’re done is just downright therapeutic.

And no, I’m not talking about drugs. I’m talking about sleep. Not just anywhere. I’m talking about catching some Z’s at work.

Whether the very habit of sleeping during working hours is acceptable or not is debatable – there’s no escaping it sometimes. It could be a heavy lunch, lack of sleep the previous day, or you’re simply overworked.

Whatever the case, your eyes will start forcing themselves shut thus sparking an internal battle inside your cerebral cortex – one side forcing you to stay awake and the other telling your body it needs rest.

I’m not here to tell you how to avoid taking a nap at work, and where you should if you really have to. If it’s a habit and you haven’t received a call from HR yet, you’re probably a pro at it. I’m simply looking to discuss what policies companies in other countries have in regards to this, and where UAE stands.

Varying policies on sleeping during work: Irresponsible or Productivity boost?

The debate is centered around one argument: Is a quick power nap acceptable because it in-turn boosts productivity, or is it simply irresponsible on the worker’s part to not manage time and sleep properly off work?

Several underlying factors need to be considered – most jobs cite 40 or 48 hour work weeks, which extend to 50 or 60 plus to meet deadlines and submission dates. The same people are then forced to show up to work the next day.

Some companies on the other hand agree that being sleep-deprived at work is as good as being intoxicated, according to this study. Several top firms place a great deal of importance on employee health and wellbeing and allow the occasional power-nap.

Online shoe retailer Zappos even has a nap-room for employees at their HQ, present since the day operations kicked-off. Sporting goods giant Nike does the same. Although the award for this sort of thing has to go to Google, who, (no surprise here) has campus-wide nap pods that employees can use to catch up on sleep.

A poll conducted in Japan discovered that only 54% of Japanese workers got a good night’s rest. The average sleep time was found to be only 6 hours 22 minutes, less than any other country. Japanese firms appreciate hard work, and have even accepted the practice of ‘inemuri‘, or sleeping while present.

Workers are allowed to sleep during meetings or conferences, provided they don’t disturb anyone.

Where does the UAE stand on napping in the workplace?

According to a global report by Regus, over a third of UAE workers sacrifice sleep to fit in both work and personal commitments.

With residents moving further away from the city to save on rent, commute time has increased as well. Also, despite employment contracts stating 48 hour work weeks, most employees end up staying late to beat competition, with no overtime compensation.

The solution is simple – flexible working hours, but reports show that very few companies are actively embracing this. Only 58% of firms are rewarding management for enabling flexibility within teams.

Even though the evidence clearly links flexibility to better productivity (73%) and staff retention (85%) due presenteeism in the office, a majority of the firms in the UAE either do not know of this or understand it.

Among those is Esskay Logistics, where employees are allowed a quick power nap between 1 and 3 PM. It’s an attempt to improve their alertness and productivity.

So, we turn the floor to you. Does your company allow for employees to take short time-outs to boost concentration? Join the discussion in the comments below.

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