Offices and work environments have evolved. Forget the fluorescent lighting, cubicles, and vending machines—things are different now.
Offices are more open, seating options are endless, and many modern workplaces have amenities like on-site gyms, a selection of (free) healthy snacks, and standing desks.
But how far is too far?
I’ve recently heard some buzz about entrepreneurs and companies (in Japan, for instance) investing in nap rooms for their employees. And, while I’m a huge proponent of getting a good night’s sleep, I just can’t wrap my head around this trend.
Putting a Band-Aid on a Big Problem
Adding napping rooms isn’t going to fix a corporate problem. The statistics about unhealthy workplaces are crazy. In fact, a Stanford professor told Fast Company that the modern workplace is “killing people.”
There’s too much sedentary behavior, not enough sunlight, and an overall lack of job satisfaction. And sure, only 1 in 3 Americans gets enough sleep, but adding a nap room to your office is like trying to fix employee health with a sedative.
It’s time to WAKE UP. Nap rooms are for preschoolers, NOT for Spartans. We have to help organizations become less delicate.
Employee wellness needs a complete overhaul. And I have a couple ideas.
Forget Nap Rooms. Try These Instead.
Here are four healthier options for the office that will lower stress levels and raise morale.
Host regular yoga classes. It might sound new-age, but yoga has huge benefits. It’s proven to lower stress levels and reduce inflammation. Companies like Apple and Google offer yoga classes as part of their corporate wellness programs. Try bringing in a yoga teacher once a week and encourage your employees to participate. Leaders of organizations with wellness programs like yoga reported a return of $1-$4 for every dollar spent.
Do a burpee challenge. Last year, I challenged myself to do 400 burpees a day for 60 days. You don’t have to do 400 burpees, but try setting a goal with coworkers for a week or month and work to hit the number. Make it a friendly competition and hold people accountable. It definitely takes more teamwork than an afternoon siesta.
Get your employees outside. Many office parks are surrounded by paved walking paths or close to hiking areas or parks. When it comes to getting an energy boost, I’ll choose nature over a nap any day. Harvard physician Eva M. Selhub says nature is like “a drop of morphine to the brain.” Orchestrate regular group walks or encourage employees to get outdoors for 20-30 minutes a day. Productivity will skyrocket.
Set boundaries. Maybe the healthiest thing a workplace can do is set boundaries by respecting employees’ time. Set clear expectations for unplugging. Encouraging reasonable schedules and setting a precedence of heading home at a normal time gives employees an opportunity to unwind and get the recommended amount of shut-eye in their own bedrooms instead of a company nap room.