Nap Desks: Yea or Nea?

The Nap Desk has arrived, a lovely desk that folds, like a piece of origami, into a separate sleeping space underneath while retaining a functional desktop. The back wall of the desk slides into place as a mattress, thin but functional, and the side-ends can be lowered for a breeze. In theory, the desk can hold two workers, one sleeping below while the other works up top. Practically, though, the nap desk will be a single worker’s space for resting and working.

The space can also be used for meditating, resting, or other forms of entertainment, such as listening to music. Do we need more time at work for rest? In much of the world, the work day is cut into two parts, an early morning that lasts until lunchtime, when the main meal of the day is eaten. An afternoon rest follows, and then work resumes around 5:00 and goes on until the early evening or later, depending on the business. In hotter climates without standard air conditioning in all public buildings, a nap during the hottest part of the day, with a fan trained on the face, is the only way to roll.

There are many potential benefits to changing American work schedules, and many would be happy adding naps. People probably take naps at work now, in private offices with couches or recliners. The issue with the nap desk, designed to be convertible so that it can be used in a small, presumably busy office environment, is privacy and quiet. Do we trust our co-workers to not paint mustachios on our upper lips with Sharpies as we sleep? Or will our co-workers be taking careful note of the time we spend in the sleeping chamber? A spreadsheet with the office sleeping times could hit morale a low-blow. And how soon after introducing the nap desk will someone want to see if two people fit into the space?

A great deal of convertible furniture is being designed by creative furniture makers, especially for small space living. The nap desk would be a welcome addition to an apartment of 300 square feet, where a person is running a home-based micro-business. But in a larger workplace, with multiple people working shifts, offering a sleeping space, while another hard worker is at the desk overhead, seems less likely to be successful. Home-based applications have greater potential.