The Mexicans were right all along. If you want top-notch productivity from your people, you need to allow them a siesta. It doesn’t have to be a long one, a half hour will often do, but it’s critical to if you want to maintain top levels of productivity for the entire day.
As highlighted in a recent HBR blog on why companies should insist that employees take naps, research has demonstrated that nappers outperform non-nappers. When Dr. Sara Mednick of the University of California had her test subjects practice a visual task at four intervals over the course of a day, she found that those who were allowed to take a (60 to 90 minute) nap, sustained their performance level while those who didn’t performed increasingly poor as the day goes on.
And it has been known for years that when pilots are given a nap of just 30 minutes on long haul flights, their reaction time increases by 16%. In comparison, non-napping pilots experience a 34% decrease in reaction time over the course of the flight. That’s a 50% advantage in reaction time for the napping pilot, after only 30 minutes of rest.
So buy your employees some cots or some Barcaloungers (as the blog author suggests) and give your employees a half hour for a nap after lunch (or after dinner if they have to work late to participate in a call with your overseas location). Their performance will skyrocket.