Last week Virgin founder Richard Branson posted a photo on his company blog showing Branson next to a member of the Virgin Australia team napping on a couch in Sydney Airport.
“I popped into the office and the airport to say hello and check in to see what the team are up to. This guy wasn’t up to much at all -- I caught him sleeping on the job!” the Virgin founder wrote.
The 65-year old businessman did seem pretty cool with the whole incident. “To be fair, he was on standby, getting some much needed rest,” Branson wrote.
But aside from the friendly jest, this guy’s nap is not something to joke about. His ability to snooze in the middle of an airport lounge with at least a few other co-workers looking on actually makes him more employee-of-the-month material than lazy worker. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Staying well-rested is a key jet lag antidote
Jet lag can wreak serious havoc on your health if you cross time zones frequently -- or if an irregular work schedule has you getting up earlier than your body wants to or staying up later. Not only does it make you feel groggy, but studies have linked chronic jet lag with increased risk of some cancers and quicker cognitive decline (working odd shifts can do the same).
We don’t necessarily know what schedule this employee was on; Virgin did not immediately reply to an inquiry from The Huffington Post. But he does work for an airline, so it’s not unreasonable to think that he may have had an early wake-up or be resting up for a flight (Branson did say the employee was on “standby,” after all).
2. Napping is a totally free, brain boost
Sleep has a plethora of health benefits -- and short 20- to 40-minute bursts of it can do wonders for your brain, especially if you didn’t get enough of it the night before or you’re feeling particularly spent. Studies have shown naps can boost alertness, improve memory and learning, increase creativity and even make you more productive.
What boss can argue with that?
3. Well-rested employees think better of their bosses
If better employee health and productivity don’t convince Branson naps should be applauded, there’s also research to suggest that well-rested employees actually think more highly of their bosses than those who are sleep-deprived.
“Leaders and their teams are typically going to be better served by a good night of sleep than by working so much that they crowd out sleep,” the sleep researcher who studied the topic, Christopher Barnes, an associate professor of management at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, previously told HuffPost.
4. He was on his BREAK!
Sarah DiGiulio is The Huffington Post’s sleep reporter. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.