On the Inside: The Huffington Post, where sleeping on the job is encouraged

This is On the Inside, a new series from Digiday that takes readers on a tour through brands, agencies and publishers to find out what makes them different.

“We don’t have a culture that honors or prizes the 2 a.m. email,” Huffington Post editorial director Danny Shea told Digiday on a recent visit to his offices. “It’s actually shamed here.”

Shea is not just paying lip service to a quality-of-life ethos at the 10-year-old publisher. The HuffPo walks the walk: No more than 15 feet from where Shea was sitting is one of two nap rooms. The site’s founder and namesake Arianna Huffington, a self-proclaimed sleep-evangelist, is adamant that an employee who gets eight hours a night is a more productive employee. (She’s so big on sleep that she’s writing a book on its virtues, due out next year.)

Aside from the nap rooms, the HuffPo also boasts a meditation room and offers yoga and breathing classes to stressed out employees. There’s a shuffleboard table not far from the newsroom and a fully stocked kitchen in the center of it.

“The nap rooms, the meditation rooms are symbols of a much broader overall focus on lifestyle and wellness that we cover and we practice here,” said Shea.

Of course, the Huffington Post is a modern digital publisher, commanding 86 million monthly U.S. uniques in September, according to comScore. (By comparison, BuzzFeed did 77 million, New York Times 66 million, and Fox News 55 million.)

As such, its New York newsroom is the epicenter of the entire operation, home to 400 of its 850 editorial staffers. Its D.C. office will handle the bulk of the 2016 presidential race coverage; New York runs verticals like Healthy Living, Gay Voices, Black Voices and a new good-news initiative called What’s Working, which highlights positive headlines.

Shea showed Digiday around the offices on a recent tour of the Huffington Post headquarters. He was, true to form, looking well-rested.

“It’s amazing,” said Shea, “to work for someone for whom ‘I slept in’ is an excuse that gets you out of things.”

Video by Hannah Yi.


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