Japan is probably most well-known for its napping policies and contradictory opinions on that matter: Sleeping while on duty – Wikipedia
There are other factors involved – stress, troubles with commuting, social (and family pressure), and more. One may argue that those are far more concerning and should be tackled separately (on a global level) in order to achieve a better work-life balance.
Napping breaks are available in some places in the US and Europe as well. Far less common, but they are feasible here and there.
Arianna Huffington has also got to be a great proponent of napping breaks at work – Arianna: Office Nap Rooms Will Soon Be As Common As Conference Rooms. Her working hours are notorious and naps were a crucial reason why HuffPost is successful now (along with her new ventures and initiatives).
Napping breaks are usually required for two reasons:
- Minor burnouts over the day.
- Sleep deprivation.
The first problem is actively tackled by tens of thousands of companies worldwide. Regular breaks during the day, chat around the water cooler, entertainment or snacks at the office, team activities after hours, and the like.
Reducing stress and boosting one’s creative juices can be achieved with other methods that don’t necessarily depend on naps.
Sleep deprivation is more concerning.
This could also be broken down into two different problems:
- Odd and long working hours.
- Lack of a personal regime and a serious attitude toward work.
The latter problem is a conundrum of its own. I had a colleague of mine who was a night owl waking up around 2:30 pm and coming to work at 4 pm for an entire month. He was nearly fired for misconduct since there were strategic meetings around noon that he was missing consistently.
Sure, the work could have been aligned with his working habits. But juggling with the schedules of 20 people isn’t as easy as it seems – which often sets the tone of the standard working hours.
This is why many companies have tried to bring some balance into the work schedule. Flexible working hours or at least a flexible starting time (say, between 7 am and 10 am) can resolve part of the problem. Different shifts for some jobs are available as well.
Napping rooms or couches at the office may be a short workaround for extreme cases. But flexible hours AND remote working may alleviate the problem for many organizations – which carries another set of management problems.
Here’s the management guide I have prepared to help you out.