Why I Sleep Under my Desk
Or — how I work my way through the work day.
Let’s face it, office culture is shifting and some of us are reaping the rewards (you work/live, co-work, tech start-up and and talented entrepreneruial upstarts, you) and some of us are still straggling on, willing our employers to chill the fuck out.
So here’s my deal. I work in a bureaucracy. There are probably 6 people who function like I do at work, and thank heavens or whatever, we’re all on the same team. We’re the little mini creative communications firm inside of the bureacracy. (It’s ok, you can chuckle if you thought “propaganda firm” as soon as I wrote that.) And we function like one, a creative firm I mean, not a propanda firm.
For whatever reason, the other people we work with (adjacent cube people who aren’t in our little “creative firm”) tolerate, heck, even envy our under the desk 20-minute power naps and our longish breaks as we walk away with our yoga mats to take the time to stretch our bodies away from computer asana.
We also laugh, joke, and poke fun at each other and we take monthly Friday mornings off to attend Creative Mornings lectures. When we really feel it and before we’re sick, we take wellness time (sick time to the rest of the world) when we, get this, just need to give our bodies and brains room to stretch or rest. It’s not vacation, because for real, we ain’t on a beach when we just take the day off to take care of some personal projects, sleep in a little, and tackle something fun that we’ve been wanting to do but don’t have time for during a regular given week.
We do this, and we’re winning. We’re being recognized for the work we accomplish, the creativity and “innovation” we bring to it, and our progress in collaborating successfully across teams, divisions and departments to help tell a comprehensive narrative to the people we serve about the services we offer and what we’re getting done with taxpayer dollars. We’re helping to align internal vision and processes and helping to increase transparency where we work, internally and externally.
And here’s the deal — we don’t need rigid 40 hour a week schedules to do this.
We need project-centered deliverables with team members who collaborate and work well independently. We need meetings structured on certain days of the week so that other days can be freed up for work, creative time, or something else that helps us keep our juices flowing so we can continue to re-commit to the jobs we applied for and won oh so long ago.
We also need to feel comfortable taking a nap during the workday. Like really check out so you can check in again meaningfully. It doesn’t have to be under your desk, but you get what I mean.
I’m grateful for where I am right now, I look forward to the structure I have being more the norm rather than the exception sooner than later and am grateful that the rigid fixed number of hours in a chair or in front of a computer box mentality is going the way of the dinosaurs. Some people I work just 20 feet away from don’t have that freedom, or at least don’t feel they can buck the trend they’ve been in for so long and I can see their fatigue from here.
Burn-out is the last thing employers should be investing in.
Inspiration is what we want them to pay for, that’s the true win-win. Take it!
Go rogue, take a writing break, a nap-break, a creative break. Your body and brain will thank you. Your employer might eventually too.
Disclaimer: I write from the perspective of a salaried person working in a pretty standard office setting. Principles shared here apply to all types of work but I would imagine a power-nap under the factory line in a parts plant would NOT be a safe decision. Also — if you’re an animal trainer or something? Your job, in my eyes, is likely awesome as it is. Though I’d love to hear other people’s stories and perspectives. Please comment and share!