Harvard Business Review on the Research Behind Employees Taking Naps
Aren’t managers and small business owners always on the lookout for ways to increase productivity? Well, Harvard Business Review (HBR) has your back: “Why Companies Should Insist that Employees Take Naps.” In his recent piece, Tony Schwartz seems to know he’s asking for a marvel, beginning the article with “Good luck, right?”
Mr. Schwartz, author of “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working,” has personally seen the benefit of nap-taking in his own life. He briefly discusses his beloved Barcalounger before diving into the findings of others, name-checking former Harvard researcher Sara Mednick for one.
In one of her studies, Mednick “gave her subjects a memory challenge Dr. Mednick is a strong nap-taker advocate, even having published “Take a Nap! Change Your Life” detailing “The Scientific Plan to Make You Smarter, Healthier, More Productive.”
Schwartz also references pilot performance studies of cockpit napping and Berkeley sleep researcher Mathew Walker before concluding, “For all this evidence, I’ve yet to come across a single company that actively and enthusiastically encourages employees to nap.” Although he commends Google for its innovative napping pods, he understands the battle is far from won. “Napping won’t begin to take hold in companies until leaders [recognize] that it’s not the number of hours people work that determines the value they create, but rather the energy they’re capable of bringing to whatever hours they work.”
How Should Your Small Business Incorporate Such Findings?
Just because Google can afford to implement napping pods and extended break-times doesn’t mean you as a small business owner can. If you have less than a handful of employees, you may not see how to incorporate such research into the productivity of your business. With your specific circumstances in mind, ponder how you and your employees can benefit from taking time to “sharpen the saw,” as Dr. Stephen R. Covey puts is, regardless if your renewal sessions include formal naps or not.
Laura June, “Another Reason to Want a Job at Google: Insane Napping Pods.” Engadget.com.
“Sara Mednick: Take a Nap!” SaraMednick.com.
Stephen R. Covey, “Books: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw.” StephenCovey.
Tony Schwartz, “Why Companies Should Insist that Employees Take Naps.” HBR.org.