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Rise and shine! Why napping at work might be the key to a happy workforce

26/06/2018

We are a nation of early morning optimists, according to research that has analysed more than 800 million posts on the social media platform Twitter.

It says we’re happiest in the mornings, waking up full of beans and in a good mood. So if we feel better when we’ve had a good sleep and wake up brimming with positivity, is there a case for allowing staff a quick 40 winks?

Our employment partner Julia Fitzsimmons discusses the practical implications for sleeping at work:

The main focus for an employer is being clear about what is and what is not acceptable. Sleeping on the job isn’t but sleeping at work might be in the right time and place. In some sectors like healthcare or the fire service for instance, it may actually form part of an employee’s shift.

If you wanted to establish a work nap etiquette, a clearly stated and communicated policy would be advisable. For example, the employer may not be expecting employees to change into pyjamas. Does the employer need to consider single sex sleeping rooms or is it a 30-minute nap at a desk or in a quiet common room that is envisaged?

Any policy will depend on the needs of the business but the employer needs to make clear what is permissible and the behaviour expected of other colleagues during such quiet times.

You need to consider the practical issues of implementing such a policy – how long will naps be permitted for? What if employees oversleep? Will naps be ad hoc or at set times? Will employees have to work extra hours to compensate for their nap time? Who will “police” any abuse of this?

Employers would also need to consider that while a nap may improve the performance of some employees, others may not wake from a nap energised, and this may negatively impact productivity.

A policy such as this would also be nigh on impossible in some industries such as manufacturing where breaks have to be tightly managed and work has to be done at a specific time.

* Julia works with a range of agricultural, manufacturing and SME clients across the Midlands. She has acted for national and international businesses and Government departments and specialises in managing employee issues around business restructures.

For further advice on employment law or HR issues, contact Julia on J.Fitzsimmons@fbcmb.co.uk on 01952 208420.

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