Young tired woman sleeping at office desk Photo: iStock

Nap rooms and sci-fi-esque sleep pods have become practically mandatory for any workplace touting a progressive culture. Catching a few Zs on the job is a welcome perk, and one that is shown to boost productivity. But do we really have to make work naps such a thing?

In Japan, office workers have long seen no stigma in snoozing during business hours. Thanks to broad acceptance of a concept known as inemuri (loosely translated to “sleeping while present”), employees commonly steal short bouts of shut-eye at their desks, or even in meetings, without fear. Nodding off in situ is seen as a well-earned moment of peace to help reboot for the rest of the day, not a sign of laziness. In fact, many Japanese firms encourage a 30-minute inemuri every afternoon, a practice endorsed by the country’s health minister.

As North America warms up to workplace napping, it’s worth considering that judgment-free policies can be as effective as—and considerably less expensive than—fancy nap pods.

This article is from the October 2016 issue of Canadian Business. Subscribe now!


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