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When the afternoon lull — that slow, drowsy feeling you experience around 3 p.m. every day — hits you, it is hard to recover to finish the work day productively. You may combat this sleepiness with a double-shot espresso or an energy drink, but what if the answer is simply giving into the need to nap? Could it be that sleeping on the job (briefly) could actually lead to better personal effectiveness overall?

Entrepreneur Magazine explored this idea of napping for employee productivity in a blog post this week, pointing to experts who believe a short 15-minute “power nap” can recharge your batteries, leaving you feeling more alert, engaged and creative.

From HealthDay:

The circadian rhythm tends to dip during late mid-day, at around 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for someone working daytime hours… Sleep experts believe it’s better if people don’t fight the circadian rhythm, particularly those whose jobs demand constant vigilance. Instead, they believe that employers should set aside space, such as a break room or duty area, where workers can go to grab a quick nap.

It may benefit employee productivity to create a work environment where people can rest their eyes for a few minutes, but this situation is still more the exception than the rule. In a 2010 Society for Human Resource Management survey of 534 employers, only 5 percent offered an on-site nap room (though large, successful companies such as Google and Nike do have designated spaces for sleeping).

The concept of taking power naps during the workday is still relatively new and unconventional, and some employers may fear it sends the wrong message to employees– that it is acceptable to be overly casual and lazy on the job, instead of making personal effectiveness a priority.

From Entrepreneur Magazine:

Weighing against naps is often owners’ fears that workers will abuse the policy and party all night, knowing they can catch 40 winks at lunchtime. It can be a delicate balance to introduce a nap policy without having your workplace turn into a place to get paid while you sleep.

But think of the opposite scenario: When you forbid naps, that policy often translates to a staff of half-conscious workers propping themselves up, inhaling junk food and sucking down java in order to present an imitation of an alert employee. Behind the facade, they’re just marking time for the rest of the day and not really getting much accomplished.

What is your opinion on napping at work? Do you think it’s a good idea to give employees a space to doze for 15 minutes if it boosts employee productivity as a result? Or do you think sleeping is never appropriate in the workplace? Leave a comment below.

Should Naps Be Allowed at Work for Better Employee Productivity?

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