Nap room

Q

Why is the idea of a nap room such a shocking or laughable idea? In many
cultures siestas are an acceptable part of the daily routine and considered
healthful. Yes, it's true we are not in a warm clime (Mexico, Italy,
Spain), but there are many people who need a quick nap in the afternoon
(pregnant women, athletes, older staff, brainiacs, physically disabled, and
so on). Historically, it was acceptable to have coffee/smoking breaks in
the afternoons. The culture has changed since the high-tech revolution. In
America, you may be looked upon as "lazy" or heaven forbid, unproductive,
if you want or need to have a nap in the afternoon.

I've found that a quiet 15-minute catnap in a relaxed (not-quite-sleep)
state is a great battery recharger and would make one more productive in
the afternoon, able to finish 8 hours (or more) in an alert fashion. A
catnap could replace the extra caffeine most of us need to finish the day.
Also, most people don't require a nap every day but it would be nice to
know a nap room exists when needed.

I've taken an informal survey in my division and it seems what many people
do when they get groggy in the afternoon is shut their office door and lie
down (either on a couch or on the floor) to power down for a brief time.
I've also heard, "I just go home and then work at home in the evening to
make up the time." That's wonderful, but how about those who do not have
the luxury of office doors to shut or couches in their offices (or
cubicles), and who cannot "just go home" in the afternoons and work from
home later?

On the question regarding a nap room, the general consensus is that more
people than not agree it would be nice to have someplace to go to take a
short nap in the afternoons, when needed. I think UCAR staff would be
responsible and not abuse such a room. And, of course, it would be up to
each divisional director to approve of such a room for his or her division.

I know that space is extremely tight in some divisions but would it be that
difficult to find a small space to create a nice private, quiet area to lie
down in? Perhaps the first obstacle would be the shift in thinking required
to approach the idea positively. (Rather than a "nap room" maybe it could
be called something else, like siesta room, power down room, or catnap room.)

I know this may sound like an incredibly trivial issue to some but
sometimes quality-of-life issues are very small indeed.

Answered on June 26, 2003

A

Dear Power Napper,

UCAR Policy 2-4-7 allows for employees to arrange flexible work schedules
with their supervisors. If you feel strongly that you need a nap during the
day and that this will make you more productive, then I suggest you make
the appropriate arrangements with your supervisor. As for providing a
designated nap room, I'm afraid that we simply do not have the luxury of
space to accommodate such a request. We are currently overcrowded at all
locations and the UCAR Space Implementation Committee is evaluating options
to accommodate this growth, including doubling up in offices in some cases
and converting traditionally non-office space to offices in other cases.
Consequently, we cannot set aside space for an official nap room.

-Jeff Reaves, Associate Vice President, Business Services