Napping at Work is OK?

Time was when sleeping on the job could get you fired. If you were in the military, it could get you shot. Now we have companies, and whole industries, encouraging workers to sleep during the business day.Yes, some employers spell out “Sleeping on the job” as a specific infraction. Some consultants tell you how to handle an employee caught sleeping on the job to see that they get the help they need to stop. Even humorous lists like Top Ten Excuses If You Get Caught Sleeping On The Job acknowledge that it is a prohibited behavior.

However, that may be changing. The Detroit News reported “daytime snoozing is an important part of ‘full-spectrum fitness.'” One Connecticut metals company actively encourages napping by its employees to “give them a break or a perk, a napping area where they can unwind.” Some companies allow employees to have a bed in their office.

One of the reasons for the changing attitudes towards sleeping at work (as opposed to sleeping on the job) is the growing recognition of the cost to business of sleep deficiency among employees. These costs include:

  • increased errors and accidents
  • increased absenteeism
  • increased drug use
  • increased turnover
  • higher group insurance premiums
  • decreased productivity

Among the organizations working to address the issue of sleep deficiency is the National Sleep Foundation, a nonprofit organization that “promotes public understanding of sleep and sleep disorders and supports sleep-related education, research and advocacy to improve public health and safety.”

Every year, the National Sleep Foundation has a National Sleep Awareness Week to “bring greater attention to (1) the importance of good sleep to health, productivity and safety, (2) the consequences of lack of sleep and poor sleep, and (3) what can be done to improve one’s sleep problems.”

The National Sleep Foundation’s recently published annual survey reports that “on average, adults sleep 6 hours and 58 minutes per night during the workweek, about an hour less than the 8 hours recommended by sleep experts.”

Internet Resources

Many things can cause a person to get less sleep than they need. Some are behavioral; some are medical. Here are some of the better sites that deal with aspects of sleep deficiency:

Here on there are additional GuideSites that deal with sleep disorders. These include:

  • Sleep Disorders
    Guide Florence Cardinal’s site contains hand-picked links, feature articles, and a chat room devoted to the subject of Sleep Disorders.
  • Sleep Resources for Educators
    Guide Diane Walker’s Secondary School Educators site includes these excellent sleep related resources.

If your company offers an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) as part of its benefit package, it probably provides assistance for employees with sleep problems. (For more information about EAP programs, see my feature article “Worker Depression Can Cost You Money”.)

Do you see the value of letting your employees nap on company premises, but not on company time? Maybe you will if you just sleep on it?

(Source F. John Reh,



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