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Napping Census workers: Are feds simply overworked?

It certainly didn’t do much for the already tarnished perception of government employees when a memo from the Census Bureau urging workers to stop sleeping during work hours in public areas of the office became the focus in The Post’s Federal Eye blog.

According to Federal Eye’s Ed O’Keefe, the memo came from the bureau’s HR director Ted A. Johnson, directed at employees at the agency's Maryland headquarters.

“Sleeping on the premises is not acceptable behavior,” Johnson wrote in the memo. “It is manifestly unprofessional and creates an impression of carelessness, which unfairly impugns the hard work of the entire Census community. Moreover, such behavior can lead to safety problems in the event of an emergency.”

A Census spokesman later confirmed that “a handful” of Census workers had recently been found napping in the proximity of the agency’s Suitland Federal Center location.

While some Post readers were quick to jump to conclusions about the dozers as lazy, others expressed their irritation over how this memo even made the news, one reader asking, “Why does this article sensationalize the story from an internal Census memo intended for employees and contractors working for the Census Bureau?”

Other readers brought up the advantages of afternoon shuteye, and one said it’s too bad most offices don’t have a designated place where “people can [nap] without everyone worried about unprofessionalism or a gas leak or something.”

While we all have stories about coworkers, bosses or former college professors falling asleep on the job, very few question why it actually happens. In this case, could it be that feds are just overworked? Do they have too big of a workload? Or are some Census employees just not getting enough rest before coming to work? What do you readers think?

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Sep 29, 2011 at 12:19 PM


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