Sleeping on the job used to be grounds for instant dismissal but at a growing number of companies across the world, it is now considered a good thing.
With more employees failing to get adequate sleep, companies like The Huffington Post have created “nap rooms” for employees to grab a bit of shut-eye with the aim of making them more productive.
Other companies have purchased EnergyPods, chairs specially designed for power naps in the workplace. The chairs have been used by companies in 20 countries across four continents, including Google.
A 2011 poll of 600 American companies found that six percent of businesses surveyed had employee nap rooms, a one percent increase over the previous year.
The same survey found that 34 percent of respondents said their employers allow occasional naps at work, with 16 percent of employers offering designated nap areas.
These pro-napping policies might be arriving at just the right time as 28 percent of workers admitted that daytime sleepiness impacts their daily duties a few times a month, and can lead to dangerous drowsy driving, diminished interested in sex, and even increased blood pressure.
Jet lag is also the scourge of the long-distance business man and woman so more and more companies are looking to help its top executives remain fresh and focused, even after a 10-hour flight.
Many bigger companies have large airline accounts enabling their best employees to take advantage of flat beds in first and business class cabins. They splash out on the added extras to enable their workers to have the best chance of avoiding the effects of sleep deprivation.
Other companies around the world, who can only afford to buy economy class tickets for their staff, are adopting policies to allow more reasonable recovery times.
For example, if an employee arrives on a flight in the early hours of the morning, they will be allowed to get to the office later than the normal 9am start.
Other companies will operate a flight booking service for its staff to try to minimise the stress and anxiety of travelling long distances.
There is a long history of sleeping as part of the job where the job is stressful and requires intense concentration. Airline pilots that fly long distances are required to have a certain amount of time between flights for them to get sufficient sleep. Commercial bus drivers have limits on how long they can drive without a sleep break as well.
Other jobs that require concentration and rapid decision making, such as doctors and air traffic controllers, also routinely allow for breaks and naps, especially when working longer shifts, to maintain that peak performance.