What 26 Front-End Engineers Think About Napping at Work
Napping has long been a part of mankind’s daily work routine. For centuries, Spanish workers took refuge from the scorching midday sun by taking siestas, slumbering for a few hours before returning rejuvenated to their labor that evening. And in the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy was known to snooze in the afternoons as a way of keeping sharp for his evening engagements.
Indeed, studies have shown that napping can increase long-term memory, cognitive function, and emotional control. At NASA, pilots take in-flight naps as short as 26 minutes to enhance performance and alertness by 34% and a 16% increase in reaction time. Such benefits to alertness, accuracy, and productivity have not gone unnoticed in the business world, particularly in tech.
Titans of industry like Nike, Google, Facebook, and Samsung encourage employees to take power naps at work and even provide specially designed sleeping rooms or pods. Not only does this practice help avoid the dreaded “afternoon crash,” but actually can spark creativity and help decision-making, particularly important in a focused field like front-end development.
We wanted to see how commonplace the practice of napping was within the software industry, so we interviewed 26 front-end developers across nine companies about their thoughts on power naps and work productivity. Read on to hear the results of our survey, they just might surprise you!
Are there real productivity perks behind napping during work hours?
Remember when you were young, and you used to hate those enforced afternoon nap times? Well, no one will judge you if you now admit to a daily nap in the afternoon. Let’s hear about more, benefits from some of our partner companies:
As a mid-level front-end engineer, Dzmitry has 2+ years of experience, predominantly working with React.JS. He shares his sentiment on napping below:
“When it comes to boosting productivity, I believe that it should be achieved by whatever means necessary. Let’s look at professional athletes as an example. When an athlete competes, they have to be in great shape - otherwise, it would be unprofessional. The same applies to software development. If you work but feel sleepy and tired, it would harm you and the project. And if all you need to bring productivity back is taking a nap, do it. That will be professional and will do you nothing but good.”
Armin Salcin from ZenDev
A full-time CEO and senior front-end developer for 6+ years, Milan shares his unique perspective on the subject with us:
“Those naps aren't called "power naps" accidentally :) From my personal experience, having a nap or taking a break during work hours can positively affect overall daily productivity. Unfortunately, not everyone can have those naps (because of the type of their work), but if someone has a possibility I suggest it.
And those naps aren't limited to the work hours - they can be used as a part of everyday routine and when you're pretty tired from what you were doing during the day.
For example, I had one hour between the end of my work and going to a gym, so I usually had 10-20 minute naps that boosted my power by e.g., 30%. Besides this example, I had a lot of others, with even shorter naps.
One more thing that works for me is to move the brain's focus to something different - e.g., once I tried to learn juggling and noticed that my brain was "resting" from programming. Just 5 minutes of focused movement can be productive!”
A full-stack engineer that specializes in TypeScript for the last 3 years, Grzegorz allocates the following productivity insights that benefit his day-to-day routine:
“I believe they boost productivity, at least they do for me. They can help you stay focused in the afternoon and therefore write better code.”
Aleksandar is a front-end developer that has 3.5 years of experience and works on a regular basis with React.JS, React Native and Express.JS. When it comes to napping, he shares a distinctive international perspective:
“In Japan, a country with strict working ethics, if you fall asleep during your working hours, it's considered a sign of hard work. I agree with this because, after 2-3 hours of a challenging and stressful job, your performance drops a bit; after another 2-3 hours, it's getting worse and worse. So if you could split those stressful hours of work by taking a break as in a nap or a chit-chat with your colleagues along with a coffee, or like in my way, ping-pong, I think it would impact your performance.
After finishing a feature, a 20 minutes nap could help you reset and refresh yourself to start working on another thing without being distracted about the previous work or feeling tired and wondering when the shift will end.
When it comes to it being considered 'unprofessional,' it depends; if you are working from home, who can tell if you went for a nap or make coffee/meal or anything? Working from the office is a different thing. If you have unique rooms for sleeping, there's no reason to consider it unprofessional since your company supports it. If you don't have a place for it, then I'm not sure where you can take a nap :) you don't want your colleagues to feel uncomfortable speaking so they don't wake you up while napping next to them.
Also, if it takes you 20 minutes to fall asleep and then after a 20 minutes nap another 20 to get back on your feet, that is a whole hour of absence, and depending on your job, that might be unprofessional towards your colleagues. All in all, does it help? Yes, but it depends from person to person.”
Aleksandar Djuric from Vivify Ideas
Pawel has been focusing on frontend development for the past 5 years, particularly with React.JS and TypeScript. His opinion on the matter is short but sweet:
“Indeed, naps boost productivity, especially after lunch.”
Oleh is a full-stack engineer with 3+ years of seniority, whose focus has been on constantly improving his React.JS, Node.JS, CSS & Electron skills. He shares with us the potential perks of napping during a complicated task:
“During the daytime, we are working on different tasks in different environments; each of those tasks may take part in your concentration. So, for example, if you have a complicated task that requires a lot of cases to think about and you don't know the solution right now, some naps will help you to decide what to do next.”
Oleh Bai from ElifTech
Armin specializes in React Native and React.JS within the front-end development realm, has 2.5 years of experience, and has a word of advice for our community:
“I think naps at work are a great idea, as we work a lot and need maximum focus 15-20min would occasionally be great, but with caution that individuals do not abuse this benefit.”
Yegor is a senior front-end developer with 8+ years of experience, working primarily with React.JS, Redux, Cypress, and Node.JS. He has slowly welcomed napping into his routine and shares the following sentiment about his experience so far:
“Before the pandemic happened, we used to work in an open space where you were in full view of your colleagues, so obviously; it was not very comfortable to take sleep breaks in the office. But with the transition to remote working, I gradually started practicing it, and now I can say that a sleep break helps me feel more refreshed and productive. It shouldn’t hurt your work, though - but otherwise, I 100% recommend it!”
Yegor Kozlov from Softteco
Armina is a junior frontend developer with proficient experience in Flutter, React Native, and .NET. She shares the following opinion on the matter below:
“I approve of sleeping at work because it makes you feel better, later you will be more productive for the jobs you have to do. So I approve of anything that helps you work better.”
“To be able to take naps at work, you must be a certified professional napper. If you know how to handle them, naps can be a powerful instrument to boost your productivity. But there are two types of naps:
- Recovery (power) nap - can be achieved only if the proficiency of napping is mastered. After you finish this nap, you feel refreshed and energized.
- "What year is it" nap - power nap has gone wrong. You feel like a group of toddlers performed Kalinka on your head. You feel groggy and indisposed.
If you master the knowledge of napping, I don't see a reason why naps would be unprofessional.”
Igor has 9+ years of experience in the front-end field, feeling particularly strong with React.JS, CircleCI, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk. Overall, he has quite a positive attitude towards napping:
“This is a fascinating topic, and the answer to it is certainly not straightforward. So let's figure it out.
I think, for starters, it is worth saying that we will be discussing the IT sphere. I don't believe that the sleep of the guard on duty contributes to the fulfillment of his responsibilities.
What are the reasons for a nap? Are you tired? Of course, it is worth resting. When a person is tired, the quality of his decisions will undoubtedly fall. Also, after a rest, it will be easier for you to find a solution to the problem. I am sure you have had situations when the answer to a complex problem comes specifically after resting.
But let's try to dig a little deeper. How often does this situation recur? What are the causes of fatigue? It may be worth tightening up your time management skills and leaving enough time for relaxation and personal life. A profession is a long game. You shouldn't waste all your resources - this is a direct road to burnout.
To summarize, I will say that the practice of taking a nap if you are tired is quite a place to be. But if you have to do this every day, it may be worth considering your daily routine.”
Igor Maslakov from Softteco
A few people have alternatives to taking a nap and prefer to take a different type of break to release the mind.
Unfortunately, for many of us, the reality is that we cannot afford to nap in the afternoon sometimes. Trust me, coming from a siesta-loving country; I should know how difficult a nap-unfriendly schedule can be to bear. Like clockwork, your mind will wander around 3 pm each day. One rule that I tend to apply is that I stay away from uninteresting to-dos after lunch. Let’s hear more ideas from our engineers:
Olaf is a frontend developer with 3+ years of experience who shares the following tips for boosting personal creativity:
“I'm not a nap-type person, but I believe a short break boosts creativity and helps view a problem from a different perspective. For me, a coffee break, a quick fast walk, or a few push-ups work best. So if naps are working for you, go for them. There is nothing unprofessional about it!”
With 5+ years of experience, Christian is a front-end developer that specializes in React.JS. When it comes to taking a break, he shares with us an alternative to napping:
“I think that a better way of resting at work to improve productivity is to go for a short walk.”
“It depends on what kind of person someone is. For me, naps are unnecessary, but I'm not against them. In my case, one coffee can improve my productivity.”
Last but not least, we have the people who just aren’t into napping…
Short naps generally don't affect nighttime sleep quality for most people. But if you experience insomnia or poor sleep quality at night, napping might worsen these problems. If you have specific health aspects or just don’t like napping at all, you’re not alone:
“I tend to sleep on weekends during the day if I have time — that is just a nostalgic childhood activity. As for napping during working hours, I tried it out several times during the pandemic lockdown, and it did not make me feel rested but rather tired and hammered.
My general thoughts would be that to make a power nap during work hours or any other time beneficial, the body needs to learn to accept this short power off.
As for the professionalism thing, whether you decide to nod off for a few minutes in the bathroom or just “rest” your head at your desk, you will need to do some experimenting and decide if you can pull it off or if it will pull you down.”
“I believe that naps represent an unprofessional act at the workplace. Going to sleep during working hours sounds improper if it is not necessary. However, if it occurs several times throughout the year when an employee is feeling very sleepy and for some reason did not get enough sleep, the employee should have a nap during break time. The lunch break at ZenDev is one hour long, which enables employees to have a 30-45 long nap, depending on the fact that they need to go home and back during that time. That way, an employee will be able to be well-rested, and one's productivity and efficiency will be increased, which will benefit the company in the end.”
Enes is a junior front-end developer who prefers to work in the React.JS niche. His opinion on the subject is quite concise:
“No, it's strictly unprofessional.”
“It depends on the role. If the role requires focusing for long hours, then yes, but in separate rooms. However, most job roles are not that energy-draining (you are probably not a NASA pilot or a surgeon), so I think if you work for eight hours a day, napping is unnecessary, at least for most IT roles.“
Kenan, a talented React Native and React.JS front-end developer with 4+ years of experience, explains how strict controls are required for this type of practice to become regular practice:
“I believe that napping could result in a productivity boost for some people, but I think most people would be even lazier after waking up. I would not call naps strictly unprofessional, but it is a concept that has to be implemented in the right way, such as having unique rooms, time frames, etc., just to keep the working environment untouched.”
Kenan Jamakovic from ZenDev
“I think it's essential to get a good sleep before coming to work, rather than taking a nap, getting up from the chair and getting some air is something that we have to force ourselves to do, as sometimes we get deep into code and lose the sense of time.
If the case was different and it was impossible to get some sleep (for some valid reasons), a short nap would help to reset the mind and start again fresh.”
Mariia, a middle full-stack developer that focuses on the front-end aspects of engineering, shares the following distinctive opinion about napping with our community:
“I don't consider this unprofessional at all, because the sense of productivity is fully individual, hence if a person can allocate time for that in a mid-day and will feel refreshed afterward - why not? Personally, I can't arrange a short nap (it always has a risk to become full-fledged sleep :D), nor do I feel better afterwards, so I don't practice naps at all”
Mariia Polova from ElifTech
Marek is a senior front-end developer with 9+ years of experience specializing in React.JS, HTML/HTML5, and CSS. He has shared the following statement about the subject:
“Naps aren't for me. I can't sleep during the day.”
Đorđe is a front-end developer and scrum master with 4+ years of experience, working most often with Vue.JS, Angular, Laravel, and Node.JS. When it comes to napping, he shares the following point of view:
“Might not be the best person to ask since, as a guy suffering from some kind of insomnia, I find sleeping during the day unnecessarily, if not a complete waste of time. Ever since I was a kid, daytime sleeping had adverse effects on my mood; I would wake up nervous and almost mad about the time I spent (wasted on) sleeping, thinking about all the things I could have done during that period.
Considering this, and that sleeping approx. 4-5 hours is more than enough to fulfill my energy for all daily activities (work, hangouts, hobbies, family, sports, etc.), 20 mins of napping would not boost my productivity at all. I'm sure I wouldn't be able to force myself to fall asleep for that 20 mins, not even on weekends and especially not during working hours. On the other hand, I'm not saying it's unprofessional, it just doesn't work for me, but I think my case is out of the ordinary.
Everything that boosts productivity and helps people do their job better is professional. It's hard to find these job 'improvements' that work globally, it gets much easier when focusing on smaller groups. Something that would help me out is probably the night shifts in our industry since my productivity is often at its max during the night.”
“We need to establish the difference between these two, boosting productivity and if something is unprofessional. Something can be productive and look unprofessional at the same time while other things can be unproductive and look professional.
My take on this is that looking at the facts that for some people short naps can enhance productivity but at the same time, to me, it looks unprofessional.
If the company would announce that the short naps are recommended I can't see myself participating in those but would not have any problems for others to use that privilege.”
With 15+ years of experience in React.JS and TypeScript, senior front-end developer Tomasz recognizes the trend in the industry:
“IMHO, napping during working hours would make a very professional impression these days - we're getting used to finding out-of-the-box ways to boost our creativity or efficiency, like meditation, or in this case, taking a power nap. However, in my experience, such naps have no effect on productivity.”
“I think that sleeping during working hours has more disadvantages than advantages.”
So there you have it! Twenty-six unique perspectives from a diverse collection of top tier front-end developers, distributed across nine companies and seven nations. Overall, the verdict seems to be fairly evenly split: eleven developers are proponents of napping, three prefer alternative types of breaks, and twelve do not personally utilize any such practise.
Employees were divided not just on the benefits of napping at work, but the very idea of what constitutes ‘professionalism.’ Even within a single office, there was precious little consensus, suggesting that napping is very much a personal choice grounded in their individual habits, work routines, and even physiology.
The environment clearly plays a major factor for many respondents. Offices generally do not make for comfortable sleeping environments, unless specific policies and rest areas are implemented. When working remotely, however, the equation changes; nowadays, there are plenty of people embracing less traditional work hours during the new normal that is home office.
Whether worker or employer, it clearly makes sense to explore the pros and cons of napping for yourself. Who knows? You just might improve your own productivity and perhaps even your health too. Or maybe you’ll find it’s just not right for you, and you decide to stick to more traditional hours. Either way, let us know what you think!
And of course, a special thanks to all the talented front developers who took the time to discuss their perspectives:
- Marko Boskovic, Marko Gracin, and Matej Lazarević from Barrage
- Mariia Polova and Oleh Bai from ElifTech
- Mario Petrovic from HTEC Group
- Dzmitry Khramykh, Igor Maslakov, and Yegor Kozlov from Softteco
- Olaf Krawczyk and Tomasz Krawczyk from SoftwareMill
- Christian Grobelski, Grzegorz Wróbel, Marek Krasowski, and Paweł Nienałtowski from Sparkbit
- Milan Stosic from Superawesome
- Aleksandar Djuric and Đorđe Krčmar from Vivify Ideas
- Armin Salcin, Armina Čerkez, Azer Marić, Enes Ajanović, Faruk Omanović, Kenan Alibegovic, Kenan Jamakovic, and Nermana Santic from ZenDev
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