The key to a productive workforce - nap time.

Work life, Employer advice

You've been working hard all day, had your lunch then hit that 3pm slump - you've lost motivation and the caffeine is not taking hold like it did this morning. What can you do? Nothing, except push through the barrier and keep going till the end of the working day. If you speak to your employees this description would not be far off how they feel either. As a manager how do you overcome the lethargic late afternoon workplace and create a 9-5 motivated team? It could well be a nap.

Get ready for the office siesta

A nap may seem a little farfetched, after all we're adults and the image of a sleeping working floor does not shout productivity. But according to a survey carried out by the online bed retailer, Time4Sleep, a nap is exactly what the majority of people working from home do. The study revealed that over a third of respondents admitted to having a nap and 40% had a lie in. Now it's clear that some employees aren't getting enough sleep and that an earlier night is what's required over office siestas; but scientists have suggested otherwise. Vincent Walsh, professor of human brain research at University College London has claimed that an afternoon nap of between 30-90 minutes can help companies improve productivity. Short, sharp bursts of rest can enhance creativity and ideas but it is also vital for memory retention and learning. It may be the case that some of your staff are having one too many late nights but resting our brains throughout the day could be the answer to a boost in employee and company productivity.

If not a nap then what else?

Office napping might not be the most practical answer, but there are other ways that you can boost your team's productivity using small intervals of rest.

Breakout corners and rest areas

Breakout areas have grown in popularity in offices, predominantly in the USA, but filtering through to UK organisations. These areas are built to provide a break away from employee's desks and their work, an opportunity to relax and have the headspace to think through ideas and issues and find solutions. They are proving popular with employees as the design of breakout areas evokes a calming escape, whilst still in work.

Small bursts of activity

Exercise is important for everyone; it helps with both physical and mental health. Yet we don't do enough of it during working hours. Harvard Business Review detailed how sporadic breaks and stepping away from our desks for 15 minutes at a time can make employees more focused and perform better throughout the day.

Honorary rest days

A growing trend that companies have begun to include in their benefits is duvet days. These are days (on average 2 a year) that employees can take in order to rest - the objective is that employees will relax and return to work rejuvenated. These are not taken out of annual leave but a separate reward for working so hard. The rest day can reinvigorate an employee after an exhausting few weeks to complete a project and an extra couple of days holiday to solely rest is a great attraction strategy for organisations too.

The office environment

A subtle change could make a huge difference when it comes to the office itself. Uncomfortable office chairs that cause poor posture and backache, uninspiring office decor - lacklustre beige painted walls with remnants of blu-tack is not likely to cause a proactive, energised mindset and even the temperature of the workplace can have an adverse effect on people's work performance. Don't underestimate the value of your office environment and what that unconsciously projects onto your workforce.

Employee motivation

Office productivity could also be lacking due to employees themselves not feeling motivated to continue their optimum level of work. Boost morale, raise performance, increase teamwork and a positive atmosphere in the office through work perks. A monthly team meal or novelty quarterly awards to celebrate success and the great characters that form your team are little rewards that can make a difference to your employees' view on their work. You're showing a human side to your managerial persona and relieving any work stresses through a playful activity. Appointing people to lead projects and manage specific day to day duties can also increase productivity and employee work satisfaction.

Put the sleeping bags away

The key to a productive workforce may not be nap time but it is clear that to allow your employees little breaks throughout the day away from their desks, or to create an environment where creativity and productivity can freely flow without the pressure of a desk and computer in front of them can improve company performance too. To build a successful organisation you need a team that is working to their full potential and happy doing so. Take a break and achieve more.

Want to find out how to strike the right balance for your employees at work through? Our Workplace Wellness Programme reveals how.