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Want to Make Your Firm More Productive? Add Nap Time

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

Why do we leave nap time behind as we grow up?

In preschool, conventional wisdom says that kids need a nap because they become whiny and cranky without one. Does anyone believe that adults are different? Take a look around your office at 1 or 2 or 3 p.m. Hang out by the coffee machine for 5 minutes to watch your fellow office zombies attempt to caffeinate their way through the afternoon. Then try telling yourself that adults who wake up early and stay up late don’t need a nap.

Or — since we all know that you want to justify napping in the office — we could just turn to the science for support.

Sara C. Mednick, a sleep expert and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, tells WebMD, "You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping. You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That's what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost."

(If you have more time -- a 30 to 60 minute nap is good for decision-making skills, and a 60 to 90 minute nap can help with creative problem-solving, WebMD reports.)

Since most clients like their attorneys to be alert, why not implement a power nap policy in your office to make your firm more productive?

There are two ways to execute the nap time option at your firm: Individual office napping or a nap room. Earlier this month, USA Today reported that a Paramus, N.J.-based investment firm called Nationwide Planning Associates Inc. remodeled an unused closet with a recliner, a fountain and a bamboo rug to create a nap room. Employees at the firm can sign up for 20-minute nap breaks in the ex-closet.

A dedicated nap room may sound like a grand idea, but we've watched enough Grey's Anatomy to know that there's a lot more than napping happening in a nap room. And that sounds like a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen.

So, the better route for law firms might be to let employees take a power nap at/under their desk. (Nap mat optional.) WebMD notes that blocking out light helps you fall asleep faster, so consider taking the money you saved on that nap room sexual harassment settlement and splurging on sleep masks for your employees.

Does your firm encourage nap time? Would you limit employees to power naps, or are you open to an afternoon siesta hour. Let us know your thoughts about the land of nod on Google+ or Facebook.

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