How do you 10X your team’s productivity? Ask them to sleep
Your team may be pulling long hours at work, some may work through most of the night, and land up at office with less than 7 hours of sleep. Many such team members appear sluggish at office, often disinterested in meetings and yawn endlessly.
Are there times you wish you could shake up the team to deliver more, and be more energetic? Wondering why team members are zombied out and lethargic?
Well you are not alone, and a lot of this team behaviour is increasingly being attributed to sleep or the lack of it.
It’s quite clear that your team can’t be ready for challenges if they’re half asleep. Furthermore, improper sleep patterns lead to irritation, distraction and sloppiness – none of which make them a coveted worker in the organization. Even well-rested people typically experience an energy dip between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. It’s a normal pattern.
Employer expectations are dousing productivity
In a recent survey conducted by McKinsey, titled The organizational cost of insufficient sleep, of 196 business leaders, McKinsey found that 47% of respondents felt their organizations expect them to be too responsive to emails and phone calls. Employees feel they need to be constantly available and accessible to be considered responsible performers.
As a result of this expectation, employees don’t sleep adequate hours. They end up spending 3-4 working hours in an unproductive and tired state. They’re afraid to rest because their boss may think they’re lazy. That’s sad but true in most organizations.
Corporate employees are sleep deprived
Here are a few facts from the McKinsey report:
- 43% respondents said they do not get enough sleep at least four nights a week
- 60% said they do not sleep enough at least three nights a week
- 83% of leaders said their organizations did not spend enough effort educating leaders on the importance of sleep
Clearly, there’s a problem, a big one.
Thankfully, some of these problems can be solved with some changes in leadership’s perception of sleep. The magic wand is POWER NAPS. In the office. Sounds quirky but look at these facts.
Power naps boost productivity by 24%
Progressive companies and corporations are portraying power naps as a biological necessity and encourage employees to sleep between 1pm-4 pm for 10-30 mins.
Aetna’s Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini started a program last year to encourage his employees to sleep more and earn more. “If they (employees) can prove they get 20 nights of sleep for seven hours or more in a row, we will give them $25 a night, up $500 a year,” he said, explaining Aetna uses various ways to help workers keep track, including the use of Fitbit fitness trackers. (Read the full story: Why this CEO pays workers up to AUD 650 to sleep).
Google uses high-tech nap pods to keep employees rested and rejuvenated.
NASA offers a similar snooze pod.
Uber, taxi services provider, offers small focus rooms that double as nap rooms.
These iconic organisations are not doing it out of whim or to appear ‘cool’ but a cognizant initiative to unlock employee productivity.
Make power naps your power tools
A 1995 NASA study on strategic napping found that a “26-minute nap improved performance 34% and alertness 54%.”
Research also shows that people who stay awake for 17-19 hours exhibit individual performance on a range of tasks equivalent to that of a person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05%. The legal limit of blood-alcohol content in India is 0.03%! Is that food for thought?
As a leader, you have the opportunity to change perceptions and make power naps part of work routines. Three simple steps to turn the idea into action:
- Try it out yourself: As a leader of the team, you need to know the power of the power nap. And as cliched as it may sound “you need to walk the talk” isn’t it?
- Identify an undisturbed area for power naps: Some may be comfortable taking a nap at their desk but others will benefit from a designated location or meeting room that is available post lunch say between 2 and 3 PM.
- Encourage ‘napping’ by team members: Obviously the initiative will receive a lot of smirks and sarcasm at the beginning. But as team members try it and share their experience, the word spreads.
So, go ahead – unlock the power of power naps. Be ready to be positively surprised by a change in your team’s energy levels.
Do you know of any success stories with power naps? Share your thoughts.