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Russ Klettke, principal of the Chicago public-relations firm Klettke + Associates, believes that a good napcan help you work better. "I'm not narcoleptic," he says. "I just see napping as a tool for increasingproductivity."

But it's tough to convince most bosses that sleeping on the job is a good thing. So when he worked for alarge corporation, Klettke would sneak siestas in his cubicle. Trying to hide his nap habit was so frustratingthat Klettke started his own business. Yes, he wanted to be an entrepreneur, but he also wanted to snoozeat will.

Klettke's company is small, with three other employees and $240,000 in revenues - but it's big enough tohave a nap room. The walk-in closet doubles as a storage space. Klettke calls it the Napping Nook. He triesto stretch out on the floor at least once a day, usually after lunch. He's not the only one. Once, whengetting some fax paper, he stepped on a slumbering coworker.

In some countries in Europe, afternoon siestas have long been the norm. But in the United States,coworkers tend to raise an eyebrow when you drop your eyelids in the office. Sleep expert Dr. MartinMoore-Ede, a former professor of physiology at Harvard and the founder of $5 million-plus consultancyCircadian Technologies, says nothing perks you up like a quick, hard nap. "Twenty minutes can help yougain three to four hours more of peak alertness," he says, and without the crash you suffer once a caffeinebuzz wears off.

Four years ago, when Jim Daley and Raffi Festekjian founded their own software company, they used tocatnap on an old living-room couch in the office. Now that their business - Boston-based PCI Services - is an$8 million company with 52 employees, a couch won't do. So there are two nap rooms in PCI's new office.Each is just large enough for a recliner and a small cot, and a supply of earplugs is kept handy so napperscan shut out office clatter. There's also a phone in each room for those times when you just have to take acall.

Festekjian says employees didn't use the nap rooms at first for fear of being labeled slackers. So he andDaley made sure to grab a snooze a couple of times a week, just to set a good example. Now employeesbrazenly nap without fear, even when visiting customers might see them. Festekjian says he gets morefrom workers who know how to nap, and he firmly believes it's good for them. "People feel drowsy afterlunch, and they're not going to be productive anyway," he says. "Why not give them a chance to sleep?" - Shane McLaughlin

Last updated: Jan 1, 1999




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