Otherwise called ‘sleeping while on duty’, sleeping on the job is defined as falling asleep while on the clock or while being accountable for some active or passive duty. In some situations, it is not that big a deal while in others this is a major infraction and can be grounds for even termination.
Recently however, some scientific research has come out in support of sleeping or napping at the work place as it is said to rejuvenate workers and facilitate them being more productive. A growing trend in some modern offices is having designated ‘nap time’ for employees in situations where lethargy and fatigue appear commonplace. The new philosophy is that a 5-minute nap otherwise known as a ‘power nap’ can assist employees become more energized and alert. Indeed in countries like Italy and Spain, workers have rest period where the store shutters go down and feet go up. Work resumes in parts of Spain around 3 so that means dinner is served after 7pm onwards.
While this may be the culture in some workplaces, others are very traditional and you are not about get away with sleeping on the job. For a first transgression you may get a verbal or written warning, stating how it constitutes a misconduct on top of looking very unprofessional. Communication is key and any good manager or supervisor before resorting to drastic measures should have a personal talk with the employee to find out what is going on. They need to ensure that the person has no underlying medical challenges that affect their ability to stay awake.
When an employee sleeps on the job, the head honcho’s first course of action is to assess the reason for the tiredness. Is it ‘ethnic fatigue’? a result of working two jobs or are they hung over from ‘bleaching’ all night? Do they have a medical condition such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea? Maybe their prescription medication is messing with their health and now their job. Could it be a tonne load of stress or anxiety from financial or family problems that is making it hard for them to rest at nights and so they ‘konk out’ during the day? Did they just have a new baby who is keeping them up all night? There could be so many variables at play so firing a worker should not be the first action on the table.