Anatomy Of A Decade

Snooze Button

Paying Employees To Sleep On The Job.

By Janean Chun

Employees may look as if they're deep in thought, poring over intense data or talking on the phone, but the fact is, they're getting sleepy, very sleepy. And while businesses aren't quite rolling out those beloved kindergarten mats, they are starting to acknowledge, rather than frown on, the nap.

In some cases, dream employers are actually offering employees nap-taking resources as a perk. A forerunner in the napping-at-work revolution is Macworld magazine in San Francisco, which has been offering a two-person nap room since 1986. Other companies are starting to sleepwalk in Macworld's footsteps, constructing everything from a one-person sleep area on a private indoor balcony to a 25-person nap room.

William Anthony, a psychologist and author of The Art of Napping (Larson), suggests employers seeking a kinder, gentler--and inexpensive--napping policy "could just tell employees that if they wish to nap on their break, they can, and they will be seen not as lethargic but as merely doing something that will improve their productivity for the rest of the day."

If you choose to live in denial and insist your employees aren't napping, you're in for a rude awakening. "I've talked to a lot of people who are napping in their cars, laying down on the floor or napping on their desks. Many employees are taking naps creatively," Anthony says. "And I think the bosses are napping, too."

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This article was originally published in the December 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Anatomy Of A Decade.

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