Naps central to WFH! Indian professionals getting used to catching 40 winks post lunch

Updated: 15 November, 2020 07:44 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi | Mumbai

Corona and WFH has allowed the city to replace endless chai breaks with power naps. And HR approves

Irfan Siddique
Irfan Siddique

When 29-year-old finance professional Priyanka Tomar started working from home in March, she missed taking breaks with friends and stepping down for coffee. There was nothing to do and no human interaction either. "My husband was in South Africa and returned only when [international] flights resumed. There were times when, even during lunch, I was mindlessly eating in front of the computer. In the process, I realised I was working more hours from home—at a stretch, and without real breaks. It was exhausting. So, on days when work was light, I'd take a little nap during work hours. Now, it has become a thoughtless habit," she admits.

Priyanka Tomar
Priyanka Tomar

As many of us continue to work from home, with the bed or sofa right in front of us, indulging in shut-eye is tempting, but also rejuvenating. At an IT company's virtual Townhall recently, the CEO addressed the employees, sharing his own experience of working from home, where he mentioned he'd been taking power naps and found them to have made him more productive. A 20-minute nap during the day can lower stress levels, improve mood and increase alertness without disrupting the schedule too much. "Just don't live dangerously, please set an alarm," warns Tomar.

Software quality analyst Irfan Siddique, 32, had been taking power naps even when at office, and now that his workstation is installed in his living room, right next to a cozy sofa, it is harder to resist. "Back then, I used to put down my head on the desk and snooze for a bit before resuming work. I was known for it. Now from home, I ask my team lead for the amount of work that needs to be done in the shift and I do it in the stipulated time. That's it. The rest of the time is mine and, every now and then, I take a quick nap. It's a habit now."

Siddique admits that the habit might be difficult to maintain when office resumes. "I hope they give us enough intimation before resuming work, so I can break the habit of a full-on nap, but I am also thinking of asking my lead for legitimate power nap breaks."

While forward-thinking companies like Google, Mercedes Benz and Huffington Post have sleep pods, energy pods and nap rooms respectively, most office spaces aren't designed to encourage a quick snooze. For some, napping while working from home can feel like a betrayal of trust, because it is expected that you're constantly hammering on the keyboard, even when your boss can't see you. While working on this article, many friends reached out admitting they do snooze during work hours, but feared they might come across as unproductive to their bosses.

Setare Irani
Setare Irani

Thankfully, many new-age HR departments in India do believe that the stigma around naps needs to be removed, especially now when the lockdown has forced us to think differently at many levels. Setare Irani, head, People and Culture, IdeateLabs, says, "The pandemic has changed the way we work and live. Teams are working for longer and are finding it harder to organise and plan life and work. While the comfort that a home offers is undeniable, we do have to come back to work at some point. We have a bean bag and creative room where employees take a quick power nap or quietly read a book or watch something during a working day. Since we are a creative hub, we know that continuous thinking can often tax the brain. We encourage our employees to take regular breaks and refresh the way they want. A coffee and discussion with a colleague, a bout of speed games or a power nap—we have had this in practice always."

Sebastian Rodriguez, Vice President, Talent Acquisition and Management at Netcore Solutions
Sebastian Rodriguez, Vice President, Talent Acquisition and Management at Netcore Solutions

Sebastian Rodriguez, Vice President, Talent Acquisition and Management at Netcore Solutions himself is a light sleeper, packing in just five hours a night. "Power naps keep me going. Just five to 10 minutes and I'm back in full force. It's almost like you get a second working day. Club that with a quick shower and you're willing to take on the world," he says. His organisation encouraged power naps even before COVID-19 forced us to stay at home. "Our offices have always been equipped with resting spaces with bed, blanket, and shower. Personally, I feel power naps or 'Inemuri' as the Japanese call it, help you come back with renewed vigour and stay focussed. We want our employees to stay alert, agile, and super creative. In the end, that's all that matters," he adds.

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First Published: 15 November, 2020 07:07 IST

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