Take a look around your office. If a new study is to be believed, 35 per cent of your colleagues have taken a nap on the job and got away with it. And only 12 per cent say they have had been disciplined by their boss for sleeping at work.
The study, with a sample size of 1,000 adults, was commissioned by online bed retailer Time4Sleep.
Being able to have a nap at work proved to be a big draw for prospective employees. More than one in five (21 per cent) said they would be more inclined to take a job if staff were allowed to nap during the day and 23 per cent felt that having the option to start work later would make a job more attractive. A further 15 per cent said they would feel more productive at work if they could nap mid shift.
A proportion of the workforce clearly deem sleeping on the job acceptable, it seems that some companies actually agree with them.
Ice cream giants Ben & Jerry’s, sportswear brand Nike and Google are reportedly amongst the forward-thinking firms who have on-site “quiet rooms” and nap policies.
And online newspaper Huffington Post also have a nap room at their New York Headquarters. Amanda Chan, managing editor of the site’s Healthy Living Channel, told sleep.org: “I’ve used the nap room here for resting my eyes for a few minutes and for taking full-on power naps.”
But not all companies have had positive experiences with ‘nap culture’.
In 2014, the BBC reported on technology firm AskforTask.com’s nap policy backfiring.
“It didn’t take us long to figure out that naps were counter-productive,” Nabeel Mushtaq, chief operating officer and co-founder of the 15-person Toronto company told the BBC.
Despite a 15-minute cap on power naps, employees continually overslept.
“The whole process would waste anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour-and-a-half,” Mushtaq added.
The team at AskforTask.com, more worryingly for them, saw a 30 per cent drop in productivity during the experiment.
Working from home
Time4Sleep’s poll of British workers found that home working is increasingly attractive to workers in the UK, with being able to nap at work a key factor. A job with the ability to work from home was considered attractive by 42 per cent of survey participants.
It seems that while many would welcome the chance to work from home, they may not be being entirely truthful with their superiors about their motives for doing so.
One in five females (20 per cent) said they had taken a work from home day to nurse a sore head after an office party and a further one in ten respondents said they had worked from the sofa to watch sport.
Some of the nation’s youngest employees even went a step further, with 17 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds saying they had taken a work from home day to secretly go shopping.
The research also revealed some of the habits of home workers, including:
49% worked in lounge wear or pyjamas
40% had a lie in
35% had a nap/fell asleep during the day
32% watched daytime television
32% worked from their bed
Jonathan Warren, Director of Time4sleep.co.uk, said: “We found it amusing that so many of us are working from home in our pyjamas and even Skype calling and interviewing in our lounge wear.
“Although it’s interesting to learn what many get up to when working from home, it’s clear it can sometimes prove to be a challenge for our concentration levels.”
Unsurprisingly, Time4Sleep feel that it would be prudent to concentrate on getting enough sleep at home, so workers aren’t tempted into napping on the job.
“To avoid having to nap throughout the day at work and risk getting caught by your boss, we recommend trying to get a good night's sleep before work. Establishing a routine around bedtime will help you unwind and make getting off to sleep easier.”