In our January insight we mentioned an interesting ‘bed-in-a-box’ concept, which started us thinking about sleep, rest and working patterns in our often-stressful working lives. We found that when it comes to time at work, less can be more...

According to The Great British Bedtime Report, (2013) produced by The Sleep Council, The average Briton gets just six hours and 19 minutes sleep per night. When in bed, 1 in 10 will check or reply to work emails, with one fifth completing life admin and more than one in 20 will finish other job-related duties. Adults typically spend 38 minutes a day thinking about or finishing jobs when they should be resting – the equivalent of nearly 20 hours a month

Their latest report (2017) further reveals that:

  • The number of people who said they get less than five hours a night has grown from 7% to 12%.
  • For 61% of those questioned, between five to seven hours a night is the norm
  • Over 50% of those suffering lack of sleep sate that mood and energy levels are affected, and nearly a quarter admit that work performance suffers.

A 1942 Gallup Poll demonstrated that the average adult was sleeping 7.9 hours – so the trend is clear, and likely to continue.

Yet traditionally corporate leaders are fêted for their typically low sleep requirements and long working hours; sleep is stigmatised. One of these, Arianna Huffington, (Huffington Post) collapsed from exhaustion ten years ago and describes the incident as a “wake-up call…that idea that sleep is somehow a sign of weakness and that burnout and sleep deprivation are macho signs of strength is particularly destructive…so changing the way we talk about sleep is an important part of the culture shift.”

As working and social patterns continue to merge it makes good sense for employers to consider offering facilities for staff to rest and recharge. According to Rita Aouad, psychiatrist and sleep specialist at Ohio State University, “Lots of research shows that a nap of about 20 minutes in the afternoon has a positive effect on attention, vigilance, mood and alertness.”

In 2018, Public Health England called for UK companies to make sleep a priority in their wellbeing agendas. According to policy research organisation RAND Europe, lack of sleep costs the UK 1.86% of its GDP per year, and results in 200,000 working days lost due to workers’ reduced productivity or absence.

So it’s not surprising that many forward-thinking employers have already implemented flexible working strategies including provision of ‘nap areas’, and in turn we are beginning to see the introduction of product solutions from specialists and furniture makers; ‘sleep pods’. Such products are space-efficient, designed for purpose and, incidentally, a wonderful facility for global travellers working in different time zones.

Probably the best of these, as used in Google’s HQ, is the MetroNaps’ EnergyPod, featuring a one-touch start button which activates a 20-minute nap cycle with music, lights and vibration. The pod reclines to reduce pressure on the cardiac system by elevating the feet, and the visor rotates to block out external light & sounds.

On a recent showroom visit, Interion’s Lisa Carlton experienced the GoSleep privacy pod, which probably has space for two (see slideshow)...

...while Interion’s Jack Nicholls struggled to leave the N.A.P ‘Neuron Activation Pod’ by Look Industries. This design incorporates Neurosonic technology based on sensory tissue stimulation, where very low frequency vibration helps to relax body and mind. Depending on the chosen App-controlled program - from 10 to 40 minutes’ duration - , the effect can also (it is claimed) boost blood and fluid circulation, fix stress-based symptoms, ease muscle tension and swelling, activate metabolism, assist in physical and mental recovery…and, we hope, make the tea!

At Orgatec 2018 we saw that Werner Works byEnsemble were ahead of the game with a variant of their Parkour range; a very space-efficient solution for rest and social settings, which can even be integrated with storage and lockers (see slideshow)

Interion specialises in undertaking complete furnishing projects for leading occupiers and designers. You can trust our knowledge to find and implement appropriate solutions on time, on budget. If you want to know what’s happening in offices, use our knowledge; contact us.

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