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Czechs Are Learning to Sleep at Work. And Companies Are Helping Them

Article August 1, 2020

Article

The power-nap phenomenon has made its way to Czechia. Companies aren’t just shutting their eyes to employees sleeping on the job; they’re also creating superb spaces for shuteye.

Falling asleep on the job – which used to be taboo and a disciplinary offense – is today considered an effective way to increase productivity and improve employees’ attention. You’re not allowed to call it sleep, though – call it a “power nap”!

This term means a short rest (max. 20 minutes) that bolsters mental abilities in the afternoon, the time when fatigue and loss of attention most often befall us. Its positive effects have been confirmed by multiple studies, including one by NASA.

MORE AND MORE

Now Czech firms, too, are among those wondering where to fit in a good spot with a pillow and blanket. “Relaxation spaces have become a commonplace part of modern offices today. Besides spots for informal meetings with workmates, we’re also designing small rooms for naps more and more,” confirms Marie Vlčková, Head of Design at the Czech branch of commercial real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield.

Sleeping box in Cushman & Wakefield

“We have one in our own offices too – it’s a dark space with a cot and reinforced soundproofing. Workers mainly use this ‘sleeping room’ when they’re finishing up demanding projects and need to relax quickly and efficiently,” she adds.

DON’T FORGET TO TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES

Nap rooms have also found devotees at tech firm STRV, where 15 such rooms – along with a gym and several playrooms – encourage employee relaxation. “They’re exceptionally comfortable and quiet and are a great choice when you want to concentrate, or nod off.

Lately I’ve seen more and more pairs of shoes laying outside the closed boxes. Even though they might seem strange at a workplace, we’ve come to really like these boxes,” senior STRV copywriter Linda Křesťanová says of her experience.

Sleeping boxes in STRV

►►► Take a Nap! Or: Why You Should Sleep at Work

People utilizing the HubHub coworking center in Prague’s Na Příkopě district have the opportunity to nap in a special sleeping box as well. These closeable boxes each sport a light and a fresh-air supply and offer a USB slot and a power outlet.

ONE NAPPUCINO PLEASE

There are a few rules to follow before an afternoon nap becomes a power nap. You should nap for 10 to 20 minutes. That’s because after about half an hour of sleep, you enter a deeper sleep phase that’s harder to wake up from, and there’s a threat of being sleepier and less attentive afterwards.

The British scientists J. A. Horne and L. A. Reyner came upon a useful enhancement all the way back in the 90s. It could be called “nappucino” in short, because it combines the benefits of a short rest and coffee. If you drink a drink a caffeinated beverage just before falling asleep, its effects start to manifest right when it’s time to wake up.
To power-nap right, it’s also important to choose the right time of day.

Sleeping box in HubHub coworking space

You can take inspiration here from the Mediterranean nations, which swear by afternoon siestas. And in general, it’s good to time your power nap for the time between lunch and three p.m. Napping any later could disrupt your sleep at night.

HAMMOCKS AND DARKROOMS

The anti-virus company Avast offers special spaces for both active and passive relaxation at its offices in Prague and Brno. “Quite a few of our employees nap in the hammocks in our sleeping zones after lunch or later on in the evening, to relax after writing code, compiling accounting reports, or doing analytical work with data,” describes HR manager Petra Vahalová.

Relaxing zones in AVAST

They can also “shut off” for a while in the comfortable chairs in the office library or in the sleeping or sitting bags scattered throughout the office zones.

Meanwhile the staff at sustainable energy suppliers Nano Energies can get luxurious rest as well. The interior of their offices sports numerous natural elements, and the whole ceiling of their darkened relaxation room is covered in moss.

Who visits their “darkroom” the most? “At our company, trading on spot markets is going on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and it demands heavy concentration, so this room is mainly used by employees who have demanding work and decision-making behind or in front of them,” answered CEO Stanislav Chvála.

Relaxing zone in Nano Energies

The interior and design for the Nano Energies office are the combined work of company founder Petr Rokůsek and architect Pavel Kříž. “We wanted an environment that reflects the company’s philosophy – that nature is a perfect technology – and one where people will find it easy to be creative, because they’ll feel natural within it. And a space where you can relax, change your mindset, and close your eyes is always one part of the creative process,” Chvála adds.

VIDEO: Visit the Bangkok's Nap Lab in in the video below. (See more HERE.)