It goes without saying that working from home has been pretty weird. In the beginning of the pandemic, workers thought they were going to be planted at home for a few weeks, a nice change of scenery that would only be temporary — until it wasn’t.
A year and change later, most workers (at least here in New York) continue to work remotely. We’ve made adjustments to our lives, balancing home and work all under the same room; finding new routines and forgetting about the old; investing in home decor for a change of scenery; doing anything to just make things appear normal.
While we’re keeping ourselves occupied for the time being, there will be a time when workers will go back to the office. Whether that’s on a daily basis or a hybrid schedule, it’s going to take time to get adjusted to sacrificing the mornings for the busy commute again, or for some: the midday nap.
Perfected at home without the watchful eye of others, workers all over have embraced the downtime and created time for an afternoon sleep, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The piece highlights a few stories about workers readjusting their napping habits once returning to the physical office. A teacher from Virginia said when he had to return to in-person school in March, he bought a cot online and installed it in a backroom at the school where he can nap for around 12 minutes during his lunch break.
From the report:
Many people returning to offices in the coming months face an end to one of the secret perks of working from home: the daily nap. People who say they rarely napped before the pandemic have picked up the habit over the past year, worn out by dramatic work-life balance challenges that have extended the work day, Zoom fatigue, insomnia and the simple fact that remote work makes short snoozes possible.
And here’s a nugget from one work-from-home employee who said it gives him a productivity boost:
Not long after Bradley Hall began working from home last year, he started to spend at least 30 minutes of his one-hour lunch break napping on the couch 10 feet away from his desk. “That’s one of the big advantages of working from home,” said the 61-year-old information technology programmer and tester in Minersville, Pa.
He believes the naps have helped him be more productive in the afternoons. Naps while working from home have become more important to him after a bout with Covid-19 in January, from which he said he still suffers fatigue.
The report cited a study that said about 33% of workers were taking naps while working from home in late April last year. While napping at the office is sure to catch some weird looks, there’s been several arguments that napping should be encouraged due to the benefits it could have during the workday.
For instance, research from MIT economists found that employees at a data-entry job were 2.3% more productive and invested more of their money into savings accounts when they took daily 30-minute naps after more than three weeks. Afternoon naps can even improve memory and alertness. If productivity and engagement is up and workers are feeling better, then why isn’t everyone encouraging it?
American businesses lose billions of dollars yearly due to sleep-deprived workers, especially production time. Maybe if there’s one thing we can bring back from our work-from-home experience, it can be a blanket and a pillow for under our desks in the near future.