With Britain increasingly experiencing soaring temperatures every summer, is it time for businesses to embrace the European approach and introduce an official afternoon break for a siesta? Should we go the whole hog and turn phones off, lock the doors and dim the lights for a daily afternoon nap?
It's widely recognised that productivity is not at its best during the hottest part of the day and concentration levels drop off. *Studies have proved that a short nap in the afternoon will restore alertness and improve energy levels for the rest of the day. Not only that, it also improves heart healthiness. A lack of sleep can result in increased levels of diabetes, heart disease, memory loss, anxiety and depression. That's reason enough to down tools and lie flat for half an hour!
In fact, this way of life is not just a favourite with our continental cousins. It is such an integral part of day to day life in China that people nap in public - on park benches, on public transport - anywhere they can grab a quick forty winks! At Huawei, the lights are dimmed in the office between 1-2pm and staff pull their sleeping bags out from under their desks! Yin and yang balances the body's needs and nap time after lunch links in with the body's natural circadian rhythm.
For the Japanese, taking a nap is a sign that you have worked yourself to the point of exhaustion or sacrificed nightly sleep for productivity - you've earned a nap!
So, embrace the rebranded "power nap" and give it a go! But be careful not to exceed half an hour otherwise it tips the balance and you could suffer from sleep inertia rather than benefit from the restorative powers that a short snooze will give you.
It's also worth considering including nap time as a company benefit. With so many companies now adopting working from home as a permanent fixture, it's a great time to reset the bar and be more attractive to candidates than your competition. People are happy to work later into the evening or start early when they are given a flexible working approach. Plus, your business will benefit from your employees' improved productivity levels and concentration - it's a win-win!
You don't even have to restrict nap time to home workers. Have you been wondering what to do with the unused office space? How about turning it into sleep pods! If you give your staff the option of booking a lunchtime nap in a sleep pod, having some quiet time during the day or a snooze before driving home at the end of a busy shift, you'll be out in front as an employer recognising the importance of employee wellbeing and doing something very tangible about it. How about it?
*Check with your doctor if you suffer from any heart or serious health conditions as napping might not be appropriate for you.