Research suggests that you are more productive when you’ve had adequate sleep. Napping 26 minutes per day can boost performance by as much as 34 percent and alertness by 54 percent. In the private sector big businesses such as Google, Nike, and British Airways have responded to these findings by providing their employees with napping stations to improve performance and therefore their bottom lines. With the benefits of napping becoming increasingly clear, it’s time to let federal employees rejuvenate the way nature intended.
Americans are sleep deprived so we try to catch up sleep when we can. We slip into a restroom stall or a broom closet to catch a brief snooze. A survey of 1000 randomly chosen Americans; 70 percent admitted to snoozing on the job. “Naps are incredibly beneficial for improving mental alertness.” states Mark Rosekind PHD on WebMD. “The data is absolutely clear on that.”
The federal government is ripe to benefit from the benefits of napping. Despite what you hear in the news, federal employees are human. Our bodies function the same as those in the private sector. Departments and agencies could take a cue from private companies that are currently reaping viable benefits from the theory of naptime. A mere 10 to 20 minutes nap during an 8-hour day can increase energy, performance, attitude, mindset, and health. The deep state needs its rest.
Would allowing federal employees to briefly, “sleep on the job,” be worth a try? This idea is no different than any coffee or cigarette break. The most substantial cost would be the purchase of dark and comfortable sleeping rooms which would be recouped through productivity gains. David Wescott of Business Week writes, “Rather than fighting to stay awake at your desk with diminishing cognitive returns, work on it in your sleep,” Wescott continues, “Your brain continues to be productive while you’re unconscious.” It’s not laziness, slacking, or boredom connected with sleeping on the job you are working while you are asleep. Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were all proponents of the power nap.
Despite widespread resistance to the idea, the concept of napping is going through a slow evolution because the concern over monetary loss and reduced productivity to the tune of 18 billion USD annually has caught management’s attention. Sleepy workers are dangerous, less productive, and a major source of increased health costs and corporate liability. Some examples of the dire consequences of sleep deprivation include Three Mile Island, Bhopal, and the Exxon Valdez disaster. Despite the tradition of allowing workers to take naps at work include China, India, Italy, Greece, North Africa, and Latin America and the accumulation of evidence of the benefits of sleeping in the workplace less than one percent of American private corporations allow employees to nap at work.
The federal government as usual is walking backwards when it comes to sensible 21st century workplace innovation. The General Services Administration recently issued a memo reaffirming that sleeping in federal buildings is prohibited, except when expressly authorized by an agency official.
Have you ever felt the need to rest your eyes? Consider this if management ever catches you dozing to improve your productivity. In Department of the Army, Tooele Army Depot, 115 LRP 4731 (Fed Arb. 2014), the arbitrator sustained a grievance challenging the grievant’ s five-day suspension for allegedly sleeping on the job.
A supervisor had discovered the grievant sitting in his truck with his eyes closed in the early morning. The supervisor approached the grievant with a flashlight and reported that the grievant’ s eyes remained closed for another minute. The grievant allegedly stated that, “he was just chilling out.” The agency suspended the grievant for five days for sleeping on the job.
At arbitration, the union contended that the grievant was not sleeping but was saying a four-to-six-minute prayer with his eyes closed and arms folded. The agency noted that the claim regarding a prayer was not initially raised. The arbitrator determined that, “in this secular world we live in,” it was understandable that the grievant did not want to explain his religious behavior to his supervisor. The
At arbitration, the union contended that the grievant was not sleeping but was saying a four-to-six-minute prayer with his eyes closed and arms folded. The agency noted that the claim regarding a prayer was not initially raised. The arbitrator determined that, “in this secular world we live in,” it was understandable that the grievant did not want to explain his religious behavior to his supervisor. The arbitrator concluded that the agency failed to meet its burden of “clear and convincing” proof that the misconduct occurred.
The agency contended that the grievant statement, “Sorry, Sir, this won’t happen again,” was further evidence that the grievant committed the offense as charged. However, according to the arbitrator, the grievant’s statement that he was sorry was clearly designed to “placate the supervisor” rather than to contest whether he was sleeping.
Napping as a part of an overall risk management strategy to address worker’s fatigue should be given serious consideration. Napping can be a valuable facet in a risk management strategy to mitigate safety issues associated with excessive fatigue. In addition to increased safety effective risk management to reduce fatigue enhances productivity, employee health and product quality. Addressing workers fatigue with a proactive risk management strategy is an investment with attractive returns.