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TGIF: Sleeping On The Job

No one is immune.

Vice President Joe Biden may have been meditating during a recent economic address delivered by his boss, but it sure looked like he was catching some z’s. In a more serious incident, a Nevada air traffic controller was caught snoozing on the job, the third such incident in  less than two months.

Sleep seems to be the new sex. And no one’s getting enough. One of my most memorable new business pitch meetings involved an executive – in the first row, no less – who actually began to snore softly during our PR presentation. My only response was to gradually raise my voice, in the hope of waking him before everyone else noticed, but I ended up shouting at the rest of the group, with no impact whatever on the snoozer. But we did win the business.

Thank goodness that for most of us, drifting off on the job is a career hazard, but not a public safety one. In our sleep-deprived culture, most of us manage to stay awake with plenty of caffeine, work breaks, or, sheer will power. But, there’s evidence that we have the wrong attitude towards sleeping at work. Apparently major companies like Google, Nike, and Procter & Gamble have instituted policies that allow staff downtime while in the office.

Researcher Sara C. Mednick makes a lively case for napping on the job in her book, “Take a Nap! Change Your Life!”  In fact, she believes it could be a competitive advantage, resulting in better memory, increased productivity and reduced illness and absenteeism.

That’s good enough for me. I say, naps for everyone! What about your workplace? Is there a chance for a sleep-at-work policy? Wake me in a half hour and let me know.

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