Napping on the job has long been considered a fireable offense, and in many corporate cultures, employees wear long hours with too little sleep as a badge of honor, proof of their dedication. However, employers are coming to realize employees suffering from burnout are poor employees, and as the employee well-being revolution continues, companies are adopting--or rejuvenating--a long-held tradition: the power nap.

But First, a Quick Science Lesson We All Need

According to the CDC, a third of adults are not sleeping the recommended seven hours a night. This deprivation contributes to a plethora of problems. Employees without enough rest under their belts are more reactive, less creative, less logical, and less empathetic, and that's before taking into account the increased anxiety, anger, and blood pressure problems sleep deprivation can cause.

Humans are built for the afternoon nap. It's not a glitch in our systems. Studies have proven the afternoon drag between 1 and 3 p.m. is biological, not a food coma or our body's shout for sugary snacks or caffeine.

The Power Nap is Back

When employers consider the staggering $411 billion in economic losses per year due to employee mistakes, lost working days for illness made worse by sleep deprivation, and missed opportunities thanks to poor creativity and logical thinking, the solution seems simple, right?

Enable employees to get more sleep.

First, the cool kids, like Google and Zappos, were doing it, providing employees with quiet spaces where they could catch some ZZZs. Ben & Jerry's have been providing nap rooms to their employees for over a decade now. But more companies are catching on, and doing so with style by making nap pods, sleeping nooks, and sleep-supporting furniture part of their design.

Dreaming of a Comfortable, Nap-Friendly Office

Nap pods such as the ones manufactured by MetroNaps fit right in at NASA, but what if they don't match the aesthetic for your company? You want all the benefits of well rested employees, including boosted alertness, mood, memory, and creativity, right? You know it's about working smarter, not longer. After all, no one wants their employees collapsing from exhaustion and hurting themselves, like what happened to media mogul Ariana Huffington, who broke her cheekbone on her way down.

You don't have to dedicate whole rooms to napping space for your workforce, nor do you have to put a space-age sleeping module in the middle of your soothing biophilic space. Maybe a comfortable chaise lounge is more your speed.

Companies short on space can even incorporate snooze space into their desks with an award winning design by Athanasia Leivaditou.

Or perhaps you prefer a multi-purpose piece with versatility as well as function with this modular seating perfect for napping, sitting, lounging, and yes, even working.

But it doesn't have to be that complicated. Sometimes, a beautiful sofa in a low-traffic area will do.

The Beauty of the Nap Pod

There's no denying, however, the versatility and sleekness of the modern nap pod, however. They minimize distractions, and have features designed to put the power nap back on the grid:

  • Ergonomic comfort to take pressure off achy joints, relieve muscle tension, and get the blood flowing.
  • Privacy visor to minimize distractions, so that 20-minute power nap remains only 20 minutes.
  • Gentle waking features, such as vibrations and soft music, that don't jar people out of their snooze.
  • Pre-programmed auditory rhythms designed to send the user off to dreamland in the blink of an eye.

Universities are bringing them in to libraries for students who need that quick dip into dreaming to rejuvenate an overtaxed mind. Hospitals have long provided space for physicians and nurses on days-long shifts to catch some sleep where they can between round-the-clock patient care. It's honestly about time Corporate America wake up--or not, as the case may be--and realize happy, productive employees are well-rested employees. By giving room, or pods in this instance, for employees to take naps, companies are recognizing burn out is no longer a point of pride.