40 winks - are European siestas the future for UK offices?

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As the heatwave continues and the nation’s office workers sweat their way through the working week, Paragon Interiors Group Plc (Paragon) suggesting a novel solution to the drained energy and productivity issues brought on by the weather…”napping pods”.

As the heatwave continues and the nation’s office workers sweat their way through the working week, Paragon Interiors Group Plc (Paragon) suggesting a novel solution to the drained energy and productivity issues brought on by the weather…”napping pods”.

Paragon (Paragon) is a design and fit-out specialist, creating working environments for companies across the UK. Whilst it has been known for its more creatively minded clients to install rope-swings in reception, themed-bars in the breakout areas or even plastic cows in reception, one design concept is becoming more prevalent, especially as the temperatures soar…”can we have somewhere to grab 40 winks?”

“This is something that we have been looking at for months, in fact years, as we like to stay ahead of the curve," explains Paragon's CEO Alan Hardy.

"These aren't gimmicks. As designers, your job is to put forward solutions that are totally holistic and that actually work within the client's organisational culture. People spend more and more time in the office so 'power naps' are becoming more commonplace in people's minds, if not quite yet in practice here in the UK. Although in this heat, I think there will be a few more thinking about it by now! 19 minutes is said to be the optimal time to reboot the system - a bit like pressing 'control, alt, delete' on your internal processes.

“This isn't about doing something because it is trendy or what Google might do - it has to fit the organisation - but when considered properly, it is a good fit for many businesses. The key is to look at how you work, how you COULD work and then how good design can make that a reality. It is a holistic approach to the process that we champion with all of our clients.

“What a lot of forward-thinking organisations are doing increasingly is seeing the workplace as more than a just a base for a job. Looking after employees is now seen as essential, not optional, especially in those organisations that are competing for the top talent. That might be free fruit, early afternoons off to get home to the family (in our own case on a Friday) or things such as free gym membership, games rooms and themed breakout and meeting areas under the ‘kidult’ approach.”

The concept of a nap is of course a staple for many workers in warmer clients across the world, although some commentators have attributed it (in Spain at least) to an outmoded policy of the Franco regime, where he attempted to match their working day with their German allies in the different time zone, that has never faded away.

However, Google, renowned for its off-beat approach to the workplace and thriving creativity, has installed “nap pods” at its famed Googleplex in Mountain View and the idea of a power-nap is advocated by many business gurus to recharge batteries for peak performance.

Paragon's head of design, Claire Ratcliffe concludes;

“There is a lot to be said for for these sort of initiatives in terms of productivity and employee morale, so it is something that I think more and more organisations will look at. We strive to create designs that leverage and reflect company culture in the physical office space so this will happen more and more frequently. The key is not bowing to trends per se but working out what it is that works for you - if that is mid-morning power naps and siestas, that's great and absolutely fine with me!"

"It isn’t something we at Paragon have implemented ourselves...yet...but I might have a word with Alan...although I hear he will be distributing ice-creams to everyone later to give us all a nice refreshing boost in this heat!”

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Greg Simpson

Greg Simpson
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