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April 5, 2012

Can Napping at Work Increase Productivity?

In my recently released ebook, “The Definitive Guide to Taming the Email Monster,” I wrote about the boiling point employees are reaching as their constant attachment to electronic devices creates an imbalance in their work and life.

New research from data protection company Neverfail provides a telling tale of what employees face as they attempt to advance up the corporate ladder, while striking the right balance between their personal and professional lives.

According to Neverfail:

  • 83 percent of professional workers check their email after work
  • Two-thirds say they have taken a work related device on vacation
  • More than 50 percent say they send emails during meals with family or friends

Why is it so hard to power down when we’re not at the office? The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business found people consider email, Twitter and Facebook more difficult to resist than cigarettes and alcohol.

Smart leaders know employees with a strong work/life balance are more productive.

Smart leaders are starting to recognize the difficulty many employees have in maintaining a positive work/life balance in an increasingly connected world.

Smart leaders are starting to take action.

  • German-based telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom instituted a “Smart-Device-Policy,” asking employees to claim communication-free time after work. In exchange, management promises not to expect employees to check email or answer phone calls after hours.
  • Lloyd’s Bank in the U.K. banned travel for all employees during the third week of every month. In addition to improving employees’ work/life balance, the move has saved the Bank roughly £1.5 million (roughly $2.25 million) per month. It’s worth noting that travel over the rest of the month has also decreased since the new policy went into place.
  • Google launched a new program focused on employees’ emotional well-being, and installed energy pods for employees to take 20-30 minute power naps to help curb workplace fatigue and increase productivity. The pods, built by MetroNaps, can also be found at AOL Huffington Post Media Group and Cisco.

What steps can you take to improve your employees’ work/life balance, and their productivity?

-David Grossman


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