The Power of Naps in Increasing Productivity- More advice from Dan Pink

Naps have great value to workers and increase productivity

I have written about naps in the past, checkout Napping at Work: Why You Should Finally Implement AND Regulate it and Yawn: Lack of Sleep and the Benefit of a Power Nap. I am a fan of naps and have been for a long time. However, Dan Pink is not, or at least was not until he researched the subject. In his book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, he presents evidence that changed his mind and should change yours as well.

Beyond the trough

I have already introduced Pink’s concept that in the afternoon most humans slide into a trough of reduced vigilance and productivity, here and here. Study after study has shown that short naps can overcome that afternoon downturn. Napping improves driver alertness and that of police officers as well. However, as Pink says, napping is more than just an issue of alertness. A UC Berkeley has shown that people who took naps outperformed non-nappers, by twice, in their ability to solve problems and retain information. It boosts short-term memory and associative memory, that ability to match names with faces, a critical skill for anyone in HR. One overview study said:

Even for individuals who generally get the sleep they need on a nightly basis, napping may lead to a considerable benefit in terms of mood, alertness, and cognitive performance… [It] is particularly beneficial to performance on tasks, such as addition, logical reasoning, reaction time, and symbol recognition.”

Naps even produce better health.

Has to be the right length of time

Many years ago when I traveled a lot for business, I discovered that the time from taxing for take-off to the time the flight attendants brought the drinks down the aisle was a perfect amount of time for a nap. I would wake up refreshed and ready to go for the workday. Pink says that research provides evidence that what I discovered works.  Research shows that naps of 10 to 20 minutes in length are very restorative without having the detrimental effects of longer naps, such as grogginess.

A little stimulation goes a long way

As a graduate student, who also worked, I spent many a late night, and often sleepless nights, sitting up studying and writing papers. I discovered that making a pot of coffee, or taking a caffeine pill, and then taking a 20-minute nap would sustain through the night. I am sure many of you discovered that as well. A study proved this effect by studying groups who had no stimulant, caffeine, or caffeine and a nap. The found the latter group was far more productive and they had greater performance. As a result of reading this and experimenting on himself, Pink converted.

In the workplace

The idea of napping, long the death of a career (I have had to discipline employees caught sleeping on the job), has started to make some headway in the American business scene. Companies, such as Zappos, Uber, Nike, Ben & Jerry’s all have created napping places in their workplace. A number of Japanese companies manufacture napping cubicles and have them installed in their workplaces as well.

If you have flagging performance in the afternoon, a large number of mistakes, a diminution in attitude perhaps instituting a nap policy might solve your problems. It worked when we were in kindergarten, and you know what kind of boundless energy kids have.

Omega HR Solutions, Inc. uses creative human resource solutions to provide answers to time, money and service issues with employers and their employees. Visit our Products and Services page for more information or contact us to learn how we can help your organization.
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Michael D. Haberman is Vice-President and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc., a consulting and services company offering complete human resources solutions. Prior to Omega HR Solutions Mike founded MDH Consulting, a Human Resources consulting firm working with small to mid-sized companies. Before consulting he held positions in HR management at two Atlanta based corporations. Mike has a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside; a Master's of Science in Industrial Relations from Georgia State University and is certified both as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM-SCP. He is currently a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, where he has served on the official Blogger Squad for the last 5 national conferences. He is also a member of the Atlanta-SHRM chapter. He is the author of a Human Resources blog found at Omega HR Solutions, Inc. which has been recognized several times as a top blog in human resources. His blog is republished in several other publications and he has been selected as one of six HR bloggers to be featured on the online version of Human Resources Executive Magazine. He has also written for the blog sites Workology and ESkill. He has been named a top digital influencers in Human Resources. He also writes extensively on the future of work and HR. He has gained a reputation as a compliance expert. He speaks on a variety of subjects to business associations and business based civic clubs. He presents webinars on a monthly basis on a variety of HR subjects. He has also spoken on a national basis on the subject of HR futurism and the things that HR departments need to be prepared for in the year 2020 and beyond. On the educational front he has been teaching HR certification preparation for over 18 years, currently for the University of Georgia.

Michael Haberman

Michael D. Haberman is Vice-President and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc., a consulting and services company offering complete human resources solutions. Prior to Omega HR Solutions Mike founded MDH Consulting, a Human Resources consulting firm working with small to mid-sized companies. Before consulting he held positions in HR management at two Atlanta based corporations. Mike has a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside; a Master's of Science in Industrial Relations from Georgia State University and is certified both as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM-SCP. He is currently a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, where he has served on the official Blogger Squad for the last 5 national conferences. He is also a member of the Atlanta-SHRM chapter. He is the author of a Human Resources blog found at Omega HR Solutions, Inc. which has been recognized several times as a top blog in human resources. His blog is republished in several other publications and he has been selected as one of six HR bloggers to be featured on the online version of Human Resources Executive Magazine. He has also written for the blog sites Workology and ESkill. He has been named a top digital influencers in Human Resources. He also writes extensively on the future of work and HR. He has gained a reputation as a compliance expert. He speaks on a variety of subjects to business associations and business based civic clubs. He presents webinars on a monthly basis on a variety of HR subjects. He has also spoken on a national basis on the subject of HR futurism and the things that HR departments need to be prepared for in the year 2020 and beyond. On the educational front he has been teaching HR certification preparation for over 18 years, currently for the University of Georgia.

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