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Posts Tagged ‘Google offices’

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I want you to answer this question very honestly; what if your office colleague walks in on you while you are napping on your desk during your break time? again, during your break time? My guess is that you will be the talk of the office, or at least you will lose the confidence of your colleagues and will be labeled as the lazy guy in town! Now, imagine what if your boss walks in on you? Enough said …

Just last year in 2008, a poll conducted by the American National Sleep Foundation found that 1/3 of adults who work more than 30 hours a week have fallen asleep or become extremely drowsy during working hours!

Now … napping at office; is it good or bad?

Many reports, and one of them just published in June 2009 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are stating that having a nap at the middle of the day is helpful for you. They claim that a nap at the middle of the day actually improves memory, enhances the ability to integrate unassociated information, fosters creativity, enhances problem solving, and improves visual discrimination.

These are not only studies without any practical applications. Napping during break times is a recognized practice in many Japanese and Chinese firms. I witnessed that first hand during my last visit to China; just after the launch break, it is normal to see many employees napping on sofas at the breaking area! Even Google has its own napping rooms which are called ‘nap pods’; these are rooms that block out light and sound and they come in line with Google overall policy of flexible working hours!

I have to honestly say that I do not know any Saudi company, or Arabic one for that matter, that follows such a system (if you know any, please share it with us.) Furthermore, I am not even sure that any Saudi, or Arabic, company is willing to give such a system a try. I believe it is more of a cultural issue rather than anything else. Most of our companies’ cultures tend to give an overrated importance to the employee mere presence at the office regardless of his/her productivity. So suggestions to enhance the employees’ productivity by allowing them to nap at the office won’t resonate with such cultures!

Reference:

Stickgold, Robert, 2009. The Simplest Way to Reboot Your Brain. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 87 No. 10, p. 36

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How many times have you been through those meeting, speeches, and even trainings advocating certain managerial or behavioral traits? And how many of these preached traits have been really embraced by your management/organization?

In management world, it happens that there are some processes/practices that gain popularity and, in no time, develop to be a cliché that everybody wants to imitate. But the problem here is that those practices are not only actions; they are actions with souls. The soul in here is a metaphor to the organization culture; its inner beliefes and shared values. Yes, actions could be imitated, but not souls. There is a huge difference between imitating something and really embrace it based on a belief.

Let me give you an example, you must’ve heard about how Google offices look like. Just imagine if an organization (may be yours!) comes and says that it would like to rebuild its offices to imitate Google. Yes, that would be nice, do not you think? The problem is that although everybody will be thrilled by the new furniture for a while, efficiency would eventually stumble. The reasons should be obvious; Google offices are a representation of its culture, its belief in innovation and its management trust that their employees will produce more in such an open environment.

A lot of Saudi businesses have been through such experiments. One of the fashions that took place about 3-5 years ago was the development of internal values and slogans for the employees to believe in. You know, those slogans based on enthusiasm, team work and, my favorite, open door policies. A lot of meetings are held, a lot of press releases are distributed, and, sometimes, big celebrations and gatherings prepared for high management to initiate the super campaign. But when leaving all this behind and start living the reality, I mean going back to office, you will see how enthusiasm is usually killed by bureaucracy, how team spirit is mostly shattered by micromanagement, and, also my favorite, how open doors policies are actually based on closed doors and deaf ears. I am sure you can come up with so many similar examples whether in Saudi or anywhere else (e.g. friendlinessto the environment, supporting innovation, learning organization, etc …)

The idea itself is definitely good, and it is a step toward building the organization identity and culture, but without a deep belief, it won’t work and could even demoralize the organization in the eyes of its own staff.

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