By Christopher Lindholst, CEO and Co-founder of MetroNaps
The legal profession is among the most sleep-deprived in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey, which ranks lawyers second in the sleepless sweepstakes — even doctors get more rest. Seeking a solution, law firms have now joined the ranks of corporate America in providing napping facilities to support their employees.
Sleep deprivation is an issue nationwide: National Sleep Foundation research found that nearly half of Americans don’t get the rest they need and are affected by sleeplessness in their day-to-day activities. Attorneys are particularly affected, as short deadlines often require working late into the night and on weekends.
Napping facilities as a workplace solution first began in Silicon Valley, where tech wizards famously work long hours and offset the stress and fatigue with imaginative perks. But the benefits of napping are grounded in solid science, so the trend transcended industry boundaries. While Google continues to provide napping pods to staff, so does PWC, Procter & Gamble and Marriott.
And now, so does White & Case LLP, the prestigious law firm founded in 1901 with over 30 offices around the world, which installed a wellness room in its Washington DC office. Comprising several recliners and napping pods provided by Restworks, the dedicated room is located on one of several floors housing the office’s many employees.
The choice to support sleep is a good one: a nap as short as six minutes has been proven to have cognitive benefits. Naps improve alertness, productivity and thereby help mitigate errors. There are wellness benefits also, as naps help reduce stress and regular napping improves long-term health: a landmark Harvard study found a 37% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease in those who take at least three naps per week. That’s good news for firms whose attorneys often face high levels of stress and long hours at a desk. A short nap is a simple way to help.
But naps are also a cost-effective and efficient solution to allow attorneys who sometimes need to work through the night, to still get some rejuvenating sleep without the expense and time loss of going to a nearby hotel. Last minute hotel bookings are usually expensive, easily costing hundreds of dollars and can’t always be billed to a client. But perhaps more importantly, attorneys waste precious time traveling to hotels, checking in, getting settled and checking out again. If a more proximate and convenient solution was available, that time could be spent getting some extra sleep… or working for billable hours.
While naps aren’t a replacement for nighttime sleep, they can be used to help when time sensitive situations arise. Law firms that provides napping facilities for employees to recharge results in healthier, more effective attorneys. And that’s good for everyone — including clients.