Have you ever felt like you really wish you could take a sneaky nap at work? We all have but most of us do not have the courage to try for a 15-minute power nap. Truth is employees all around the world take a sneaky nap every day.
How to Nap at Work Without Getting Caught? Work remotely, find a place in the office out of view, own office, sitting up your desk, in your car, if you work out of the office head off to the cinema, those laying cables sleep where they work, those working in large buildings sleep in the cavities these are just a few suggestions.
Do Naps Increase Productivity?
For the greater part of the past decade, there has been a significant paradigm shift in the workplace, where more emphasis has been placed on ensuring the employee is better equipped to increase productivity.
Napping at work is a glaring example of an activity that is no longer frowned upon by company executives – many of whom have probably been getting away with it behind the doors of their ostentatious offices anyway.
Critically though, sleeping at work is no longer a matter of privilege. It is increasingly being viewed as a matter of necessity. Under ordinary circumstances, it would be the blue-collar workers championing this noble cause.
However, it is now profit-seeking employers who claim to see the benefits of allowing staff to take a power nap at work.
Many of them are citing a study conducted by Sara C. Mednick, Denise J. Cai, Jennifer Kanady, and Sean P.A. Drummond more than a decade ago.
At the core of that study was the desire to seek alternatives to the copious amounts of caffeine that are being consumed by workers across the United States and around the world – in an attempt to stay more alert and be productive at work.
If you can show me a successful company which claims to not have a coffee machine of some kind available to its guests and employees and I would be surprised.
However, there are growing indications that things will not always be that way.
Everybody knows very well that caffeine is a super stimulant. Many of the energy drinks that have now flooded the market are loaded with caffeine. However, the jury has always been out on just how much it does for the memory or increased productivity for that matter.
Researchers believe there is no compelling evidence to suggest that a nap at work would be of greater benefit to both the employer and the employee. Bosses are buying into that notion too.
Napping at Work with the Energy Pod
So it has now become very fashionable to nap at work. Employers and employees around the world are now embracing the opportunity to spend money on something that will enhance the quality and value of that nap.
It is called the Energy Pod. Such is its growing significance that heavyweight business publications like Forbes are even giving it meaningful publicity.
But what is it exactly? We decided to visit the company website for more information on what makes this strange contraption more valuable than the conventional bed or mattress. And how on earth does this pod beat caffeine?
The Energy Pod is a chair then…talk about keeping up appearances.
However, it has been specifically built for those in the workplace, so that they can fall asleep when the opportunity presents itself or simply when they feel like it. Forget about its design because it is just strange.
Of particular interest to us is the technology used and the level of comfort that this contraption is supposed to produce. The claim is that the machine provides a zero-gravity position, is loaded with specially composed sleep music and wakes you very gently. That all accounts for the comfort component of this machine.
That waking up process is driven by a special sequence of composed lighting and a series of vibrations that help tell your body and mind that the time for shuteye is over and that you need to return to your desk and produce some more of those highly desired dollars. God knows many of them were spent purchasing the “space contraption” in the first place.
The contraption itself is developed by Firmware, who has programmed it to help you sleep deeply for about 20 minutes. Well, they say 20 minutes but it could honestly be a little less or a little more than that.
Among the key features on that contraption are “a status indicator that communicates when the EnergyPod will next be free and a usage tracker to optimize facility management.” You can’t script this stuff.
In addition to that, you will have Ergonomic Perfection, a privacy visor, an interface console, and a built-in speaker. The makers of the product were encouraged by what they felt was a desperate need for it. They noticed that more and more people were falling asleep at work and trying to hide it.
The research and design that went into making this machine were seen as an opportunity to boost productivity in the workplace instead of inhibiting it. The jury is out on just how valuable this will turn out to be.
How Do We Conclude That a Nap at Work Is Better Than Caffeine?
The researchers who conducted the famous study we are citing got 61 adults who drank no more than two cups of coffee a day to participate in the study. Those adults were between the ages of 18-39.
Therefore, they were at the peak of their physical powers and without a history of serious illness. They basically had nothing that could possibly muddy the waters of the study.
More critically though, the participants had a sleep schedule that did not see them sleep any later than midnight. Nor did it see them wake up any later than 8 am. Again, that was to boost the integrity of the study.
During this business of examining the impact of a power nap at work, there could be no accusations of foul play. The playing field was as equal as it could possibly have been under the circumstances.
All of the subjects in question kept sleep diaries, wore actigraphs and were not allowed to consume caffeine or alcohol before the experiments were conducted. Now that we have the admin out of the way, let us take a look at some of the interesting findings of that study.
The primary objective of this campaign was to test motor capacity, while the other was to test verbal capacity. Both are key indicators of a person’s alertness or sharpness in the workplace environment.
During the verbal tasks, the subjects were required to display recall and recognition memory.
That power of recall was tested over a period of seven hours, during which there were three intervention options available.
The first was the good old cup of coffee or anything else with caffeine in it. The second was a placebo, which is a form of medication. The third was the power nap.
With that, the game was afoot.
For the motor tasks, subjects were requested to complete a series of finger tapping tasks with their non-dominant hand. The capacity of the subjects to accurately completely those sequences was tested after the three intervention options mentioned above. That is caffeine, placebo, and the old power nap.
Determining the results of that test was also pretty straightforward. The number of correct sequences in a set time wins. Memory and recall were taken out of the equation though. The sequence was displayed for everybody to see clearly. It was just a matter of testing how sharp and alert the subjects in the study were.
There were also deductions for errors and inaccuracies.
For the verbal tasks, the group which opted to nap, instead of consuming caffeine or administer placebo, performed remarkably better than any of the other groups.
Also interesting was the fact that there was no significant difference in performance between placebo and caffeine. So, ditch the drugs and get some shuteye.
During the motor testing phases, nappers and the placebo group traded blows regularly through the sessions without there really is a clear winner. More significantly though, the caffeine group appeared to run out of steam as the tasks progressed and they eventually fell behind the top two.
There appears to be increasingly compelling evidence that the merits of caffeine have been grossly overstated over the years and that it is purely psychological. Napping at work is definitely the way of the future.
If you want to know a lot more about caffeine and sleep you can view my article here…
How to Nap at Work and Not Get Caught
If you are one of the unlucky ones with a boss fit to boost the stocks at the local museum, you might have to hide your sleep problems just that little bit longer.
There is also the glaring reality that the majority of the people who will have access to something like an Energy Pod are executives and managers. By all accounts, it still does cost you a pretty penny.
Do not despair though, as there are ways to manipulate the system. Some of the tricks available are among the oldest in the book but they do say the old ways are always the best. Let’s check out my favorite top ten, shall we?
1. Work Remotely
This is particularly relevant to the author of this article, who has not stepped into an office for the greater part of a year. All of the work I have completed has either been done on my laptop, which was on my chest, while I was lying in my bed until well after midday.
There have also been days when I have not left my bed the whole time the sun was out during the course of the day. It is under those circumstances that the option to take what I would loosely refer to as a power nap became highly convenient.
No questions have ever been asked, as long as the tasks have been completed and the clients have been satisfied that I managed to deliver on my mandate. Better still, when I managed to deliver with considerable aplomb.
2. Sleep in the Boardroom at Lunch
The beauty about lunch breaks at the office is that nobody is ever looking for you during that period and there are seldom any meetings scheduled for the boardroom during lunch either. We are talking about the proverbial two birds with one stone here.
The outstanding thing about lunch breaks is that nobody gets to tell you what to do when they come. They constitute a basic worker’s right…an entitlement even. Under those circumstances, it is always most prudent to secure some shuteye if you can. Whether that be if you are tired or you just want to experiment with the extraordinary idea that you might be better placed to improve your productivity when you wake up.
The other trick here is to eat your actual lunch while you are at your desk. That way, you do not waste a single minute of your actual lunch hour chewing and swallowing.
3. Make the Most of Your Office “Privacy”
Some people happen to be among the lucky ones, even though they do not occupy a position in management or an executive position they have an office of their own.
If you are one of those who do have an office if you are in this position may be you could share your office within someone who is tired one day – as well as take naps yourself.
Sleeping in the office, whether that be on the couch or under your desk, is a management trick as old the job position itself.
There is seldom any scrutiny, especially if you do not actually have a secretary. If you do have a secretary, there is also the opportunity to receive ample warning before somebody can catch you napping.
Better still, a secretary can actually protect you from somebody who could possibly catch you getting some shuteye. There is an element of loyalty there that is seldom matched in any environment.
4. Use the Car If You Must
There is honestly nothing ideal or even particularly unique about this one. People have been catching some sleep in their cars for years now. The one benefit of sleeping in your car during work hours is that it helps you avoid any level of scrutiny.
Once you step out of the office, few questions are ever asked about what you are doing out of the office. For all we know, you could be on your way to a client or on your way to pick your child up from school. Any number of things really.
The point is that under those circumstances, nobody can ever say they ever caught you sleeping. Whatever transpires at any disciplinary hearing, sleep will never come up in the conversation.
5. Sleep Sitting Up, While at Your Desk
Well, there are two options here. The first is less dramatic than the other. Firstly, you can give any colleague that matters the impression that you need some glasses. That your eyes are beginning to fail you.
Then go to a specialist and have them produce a set of glasses that are tinted. Convince everybody that your spectacles double up as reading glasses and sunglasses. That way, you can wear them in the office every time, without there ever being any questions asked.
You can also complicate matters if you wish, by just wearing sunglasses in the office, for no apparent reason. We suppose you will just have to convince colleagues that for some peculiar reason, you forgot to take those sunglasses off or that the sun is continuing to bug you in the office…somewhere and somehow.
Whichever option you adopt, the name of the game is to just close your eyes behind those glasses and nap while you are at work.
You do want to avoid your head tilting over completely or the prospect of you drooling during this covert operation. Just be aware that this will likely be a light sleep and probably not entirely comfortable either.
6. Find a Restroom Cubicle
We are now meddling in matters of hygiene here. Nobody wants to spend more time in the toilet cubicle than he/she has to. The smell is almost always unbearable and germs are likely to be everywhere.
However, if you are desperate to catch some shuteye, there are few plans that will beat this. Just avoid snoring and in order to avoid any scrutiny, maybe pick your feet up and place them against the wall of the cubicle. It is a lot of effort, we know.
However, what you do not want is somebody spotting your shoes and recognizing them when you walk out of the cubicle substantially later. You also do not want somebody entering the toilet, spotting your shoes and deciding to greet you while you are out cold.
Some doubts might emerge about your health and for all, we know a rescue team will be sent into the bathroom to resuscitate you…only to learn that you were just napping at work. Another way to avoid scrutiny is by convincing a colleague that you are actually ill and give them the impression that it has to do with something that you ate.
That way a prolonged absence from your desk might be suitably explained. Not a considerable amount needs to be said under these circumstances sometimes.
7. Speak to the Cleaning Lady
There is always a room somewhere in the office that nobody ever uses, except maybe the cleaning lady herself. There is also the distinct possibility that she uses that room for clandestine activities of her own.
Maybe you two could share a sleeping secret or sleeping secrets or you could just find out what her cleaning timetable is and sneak in there when she is not looking. Nobody in that entire office will search for you in the cleaning closet of all places.
Just make sure you only take a power nap and do not make it too much of a habit. There is the small matter of hygiene to be taken into consideration here.
8. Speak to God
We are beginning to clutch at straws now and should probably call it a day once we are done with this religious intervention. There are those among us who pray when we arrive at the office. There are those among us who pray when they leave the office and then there are those who pray midway through the workday. Let us ask no questions.
Maybe that person is just having a rough day at work and needs some form of divine intervention. Maybe that person just needs God’s backing ahead of a major meeting or presentation. For those among us who just need to sleep, this presents a somewhat glorious opportunity to produce a power nap of some note.
Pretend to be speaking to God by putting your palms together and closing your eyes. We imagine your lips will not be moving too much though. Do not let that bother you. It is a tiny, insignificant detail.
Maybe put a bible on your desk for good measure. Better still, have that bible open on an appropriate or seemingly relevant page. Basically, we are telling you to be creative here. Bosses miss the smallest things sometimes.
9. Put a Phone in Your Ear and Nap at Work
I know we had said we were done with this charade but leaving this sleeping technique off the list would have been a criminal act of epic proportions. Depending on the nature of your work, this might come in very handy.
If you are working in sales, journalism or any other field where a phone is an important tool, this trick will come in handy. What you do is you pick the phone up, stick it next to your ear and balance it with your shoulder.
For good measure, you can then maybe place a notepad in front of you on your desk and have a pen in your free hand. That is a great picture of a colleague who is hard at work, conducting business, searching for a new client or just conducting an interview.
Your lips will not be moving during this acting scene but who is to say you are not dealing with an extremely talkative person on the other side of the phone? Maybe the office just knows you as the listening type anyway. When your eyes are closed, the perfect explanation is that you were in the middle of a highly intense conversation.
There are too many aces at your disposal here, which you should use towards your favor.
10. Fix Your Network Cable Under the Desk
There is also the option to just lie down under your desk and pretend that you were fixing a computer-related problem. This is particularly handy if you work at a company where very few know anything about computers or where computer problems of this nature are regular.
Nobody will suspect a thing. Maybe make sure there is actually something wrong with your computer before you take that nap though. That way, nobody will question anything.
Finally, if all of these napping at work techniques fail, for whatever reason, do yourself a favor and get a government job. There is never any oversight on service delivery issues, so nobody will even bother if you are at your desk or not, let alone if you are sleeping or not.
Those in management positions at government jobs are seldom at work themselves anyway.
To Finish – How to Nap at Work Without Getting Caught
Don’t want to change jobs and do not feel as though you can catch a secret nap at work there is always lunch break or meal break right!
What about taking your own pillow to work – hide it in your locker or drawer – or roll up a sweater find a quiet place in the office or under your desk and get that nap.
Not able to do that? Find somewhere outside close to work – just remember to set your alarm so you can wake up in time to get back to work…
As always here’s to better sleep!
If you are really struggling at work take a look around my sleep site there is information here that can assist with various sleep issues.