UCAR Communications


staff notes monthly

September 2003

Delphi Question: Nap room

Delphi Question #503 (received 18 June):

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.

Answer (received 26 June):

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

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinators. They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential. They must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2, and on the Delphi Website. Staff Notes Monthly publishes questions and answers
of general interest to staff, and the Delphi Website has a log of all questions submitted since 1995

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