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THE AFTERNOON NAP ATTACK

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In Taiwan, it’s perfectly accept­able to sleep with one’s co-workers — “sleep” being the operative word. Brief catnaps after lunch are commonplace in many Taiwanese companies. Typi­cally, all workers take lunch around the same time, from noon to 1:30. Af­ter eating, those employees who wish to can put away their desk lamps, pull out a pillow, and take a snooze lasting perhaps 15 to 30 minutes. Even those Workers who aren’t napping will usu­ally dim their lights and speak softly until the break is over.

“In Chinese medicine, a rest at noon is considered good for your health,” says Violet Cheong, a Taiwan­ese editor. “It’s generally believed that a nap will help workers with alertness and productivity in the afternoon.”

Studies show that the human body is programmed to take a dip in energy at midday, whether food is eaten or not. “Even a nap as short as five minutes can increase alertness and memory skills,” says Sara Mednick, a sleep expert at the University of Califomia-San Diego’s Laboratory of Sleep and Behavioral Neuro­science. A 15-minute power nap can boost concentration, dexterity, mood, and overall health.

Drooping eyelids on the job do more than hurt productivity. They can also prove fatal. Mednick says that sleep deprivation causes countless minor accidents and contributed to some major workplace disasters — including the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Union Carbide chemical ex­plosion in India. The United States is a “nation of the walking tired,” she writes, “so much so that 51 percent of the workforce reports that sleepiness on the job interferes with the volume of work they can do.”

That exhaustion can be a costly problem. According to a January 2007 article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “tired workers cost employers $136.4 billion annually in health-related LPT [lost productive time]”.

So are U.S. employers embrac­ing the benefits of naps? Keep dream­ing. According to a recent research made by an international consulting firm specializing in work hours and productivity about 75 percent of U.S. companies do not allow napping, and many punish workers caught sleeping on the job.

But tired workers can lapse into “microsleeps” of just a few seconds, which can lead to truck crashes or assembly-line accidents. So it’s better to manage napping than to ban it.

A few American companies are beginning to see the light. Yarde Met­als in Connecticut has a “Z-Lounge” with a zero-gravity chair that rotates and surrounds the napper with sooth­ing smells, sounds, and images like babbling brooks and crackling fires.

But nap space needn’t be so elaborate. Companies should take the hint from Taiwan: Buy employees pil­lows instead of an espresso machine, and watch the bottom line rise very quickly.

Adaptedfrom Lisa Moore, U.S.News

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Читайте в этой же книге: Vocabulary | Rendering | EXPATS AT WORK | TEXT III (В) | Exercises Comprehension | THE WORKPLACE JUNGLE | LOOMING PITFALLS OF WORK BLOGS | Reference Material | Vocabulary | Summary |
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