Sleeping issues | Worker sent home for 'napping' says he was closing eyes to 'solve a problem' - is employee rest an HR issue?

Worker sent home for 'napping' says he was closing eyes to 'solve a problem' - is employee rest an HR issue?

An employee claims he was wrongfully sent home from work after being accused of sleeping on the job whilst closing his eyes to “figure out a complicated issue.”

In a Reddit post on the thread ‘antiwork’, the disappointed employee explains that that he was sent home from work for sleeping but was “actually just reclined back in (his) chair, eyes closed, (and) trying to figure out a complicated issue.”

The employee insists in the post that despite being “a little tired” and being on “medications that could make him drowsy” he had made himself three cups of coffee and “was fine”.

He went on to explain that he had a work problem he needed to solve and so closed his eyes to contemplate this issue. When a colleague threw an object at him to get his attention but “didn’t get the reaction” she wanted, she told their operations manager. This led to the Reddit user getting sent home, and later crafting the social media post.

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“I'm now afraid I may lose my job because I was simply leaning back in my f***ing chair,” the displeased worker went on.

Many users responded to the viral post with comments sympathising with the employee. One user offered some advice, saying: “You've got to massage your temples or something moving forward. I'd get this complaint all the time when in reality I needed to close my eyes and use my mental whiteboard to debug.”

While another Redditor added: “That happened to me and I was given so much s*** for it, I closed my eyes with my hands in my head waiting for something to finish uploading and someone tattled on me, and I got accused of sleeping. Apparently its wrong for someone to just close their eyes and not look at a screen 24/7.”

Sleeping at work

Research from Unmind shows that businesses lose roughly £5000 per worker every year due to employees struggling with poor sleep or mental health issues. While another study revealed improving your employee’s sleep could save the UK economy £34bn.

With many employers still using hybrid or remote models, staff have the possibility of lying down during their lunch break or catching up on rest around flexible work hours. But with businesses increasingly demanding employees come back into the office, workers feeling less rested or having sleep-related problems may become an issue.

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Recent years have seen companies such as Google and Huffington Post introduce sleep pods into their offices, recognising the business benefits of ensuring staff are well rested. Well-rested staff can lead to increased levels of productivity, increased wellbeing, and better engagement.

Despite this, the possibility of in-office sleep breaks is far from being common in the workplace, but with record high numbers of staff calling in sick and stress-related absences, employers should encourage healthy sleeping habits where they can.

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