Workplace productivity

Smarter solutions

In the quest for employers to be more mindful of staff needs and to improve workplace productivity comes a global shift towards providing a place for employees to catch forty winks – while at work.

As with many trends in the contemporary workplace, Google led the way by installing sleep pods for its staff to snooze in. But internationally, corporate giants like PwC, Proctor & Gamble, Nike, and Uber have jumped on the sleep train, too, and see value in providing space for workers to get some shut eye and recharge.

Costing around NZD$20,000, EnergyPod is touted as the world’s first chair designed specifically for napping in the workplace and Google and NASA have embraced the concept.

These pods allow employees to take a 15-20 minute power nap to boost alertness and productivity, and to improve mood, creativity and learning, claims Metronaps, the company behind the EnergyPod.

Providing dedicated rest facilities for staff would be – for some office-based businesses – a snore too far yet, these pods and others like them are catching on overseas.

They’re ergonomically-designed, take up very little space, have privacy visors, can be pre-programmed for an optimal nap time and will wake dozers up gently.

While embracing the concept of staff wellness, many office workplaces in New Zealand give barely a nod to rest facilities. Maybe there’s a sofa in the lunchroom or a chair in the “first aid room”.

In its first study of self-reported sleep length, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported recently that more than one in three Americans still aren’t getting enough sleep (deemed to be seven hours per night) and, along with health implications, this can impact on workplace performance.

“Sleeponomics” is a term coined to describe the growing global market emerging from longer work hours and digital apps that monitor every aspect of our lifestyles. It’s evolving into a multi-billion dollar industry.

If employers are not prepared to offer up nap facilities on-site, then other entrepreneurs are stepping up to the plate. In Seoul’s CBD there are numerous nap cafes designed to serve the overworked and sleep-deprived with comfortable places to sleep during lunch breaks.

Just how this “nap at work” concept will take off in New Zealand is unclear. Perhaps the stigma of falling asleep at work is strong enough to cancel out the legitimising of the practice.

The growing body of evidence tying poor sleep to poor health and productivity outcomes, means that employers are being lulled into considering sleep-promoting initiatives like nap rooms or sleep pods.

Perhaps it could be a great recruitment/retention tool?


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