BBC: In the era of overwork, sleep is precious. What if your company pushed you to work less and snooze more?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of employee wellness – especially as workers themselves demand it. Programs such as access to better flexible working policies, increased leave and mental-health apps are among the common approaches. But less traditionally, modeling and encouraging good sleep behavior is also emerging as another approach to support employees from burning out. 

And though the rules of a more traditional corporate workplace may dictate that it’s inappropriate to talk about what’s happening in your bedroom, Swiss sleep neuroscientist Els van der Helm says a “younger generation of workers has changed this taboo dramatically. They want to talk about all these personal topics at work, because for them, work and personal life blend much more together.” 

A light sleep on the job isn’t wholesale new, of course; in countries such as Spain and Italy, a mid-day break for lunch and a snooze has long been baked into company culture. Elsewhere in Europe, organisations including the National Trust, are beginning to embrace these “Mediterranean hours”.

There are examples in the US, too; online retailer Zappos offers employees access to massage chairs, and staff were often encouraged by late CEO Tony Hsieh to take 20-minute daily naps. Nap rooms or pods are also available at companies including Google and Cisco.

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