Google, Ben and Jerry’s, NASA, Zappos: What do all of these companies have in common? They recognize that well-rested employees make for a happy, healthy, and productive staff. They also provide the pillows—or at least a comfy chair—to allow employees to slip away for a midday power nap.
It may sound like an indulgence if you don’t already work for a company that encourages napping among its ranks (add to that list: Nike, AOL, The Huffington Post, and Congress). But some 20 percent of workers are sleepy during the day—hardly the recipe for doing your best work. For many, short naps can be a shortcut to better work performance. These are some ways to help make your workplace more sleep-friendly, even if your boss hasn’t yet gotten the memo.
Create a Space for Napping
Sure, Google staffers may have high-tech “energy pods” to tuck themselves into when they need a short snooze break. In fact, you can even rent one for a cool $795 a month. But a napping solution doesn’t need to be fancy—or expensive. It can be as low-tech as a yoga mat on the floor or a recliner in an unused corner of the office. Some other accessories worth considering: a white noise machine to block out distracting sounds, plus blackout curtains and/or a sleep mask to ensure darkness.
Score a Flexible Schedule
Allowing for a space to nap isn’t the only way that your employer can encourage well-slept employees. Having a manager who is supportive of your work/family balance can mean better sleep—and that yields fewer absences, more job satisfaction, and more productive workdays. In fact, simply having a boss who’s willing to discuss formal flextime arrangements, like starting your day an hour earlier in order to leave an hour earlier to pick up your child from day care or school, is associated with about a half an hour more sleep per night.
Work From Home
Telecommuting—even one or two days a week—can be a smart way to work better and sleep better. What gives? Well, the commute, for one. When you drop an average of 75 miles out of your day, it leaves a lot of extra time to do your job, exercise, enjoy life, and—yes—sleep! What doesn’t get sacrificed: your job. Seventy-five percent of telecommuters say they are more on top of their deadlines when working remotely. Still not sure that will convince your boss? Try this: Major companies that have signed on to telecommuting save as much as $277 million a year for the company, and employees save $10.3 million at the pump. Now that’s some serious cash.