According to news reports, there's a chance that if you walked into a restroom of any of Wall Street's big banking firms right now, you might find a junior banker napping in the handicap stall.
"Exhausted from hours of nonstop work, the interns would sneak into a bathroom stall, plug headphones into their smartphones and set the alarm, in hopes of stealing a few precious minutes of shut-eye, according to several former interns who worked for the bank in the summer of 2011," The Wall Street Journal reported, explaining the lack of sleep and copious amounts of overtime at Barclays PLC in Hong Kong.
Napping in a toilet stall is supposed to be shocking, and an example of how banking firms are over-working their junior employees. And there are stories of over-worked junior level employees (not just in the banking industry) and interns who just so happened to die while working crazy hours. But let's get one thing straight: attributing the invention of toilet stall napping to bankers gives them far too much credit and ignores years of napping history that clever non-banking life hackers have carved for us.
In order to preserve all that is holy, here is a nap-at-work hierarchy or taxonomy of office naps that were created long before some lived-in shell of a human junior banker thought them cool:
If you're doing this, remember to turn up the ringer on your phone (in case someone important calls) and make sure one of your hands is on your mouse — that way your GChat status doesn't turn idle. Also, this nap doesn't count in the hierarchy because you're not at work — same goes for people who have egg chairs at work, people who have couches in their offices ... those are not true office naps.
The Car Nap
This is the king of naps. Walking to a parking structure or parking lot (not as ideal) and sleeping in your car is the best kind of nap you can have at the office. There's no risk of being caught, the seats are comfortable, and you get to be away from your office and avoid interruption. The only drawbacks to this nap are, of course, things like not having a car, car-jacking, and extreme temperatures which may make napping in a building more appealing.
The Meeting Room Nap
The meeting room nap wholly depends on how organized your office is. If you work at one of those beautiful and efficient offices, chances are you have to book these things in advance. That's a good thing, because people will follow rules and not try to barge in. The less rules in your office, the more this nap suffers. Should you decide to pursue this nap, bring a hoodie or a big scarf — conference tables aren't comfortable.
The Under the Desk Nap
The biggest nemeses to these naps are open office floor plans and hardwood floors. What you're looking for in a good under-the-desk nap is darkness — which a large desk and even a cubicle can provide. Theres also the bonus privacy factor — if you have a desk which extends all the way down to the floor, no one will even see you napping. The only problem is, as this Redditor found, is that you have a lot of explaining to do should if you happen to have a persistent or important visitor.
Everyone just uses the elevator right? That makes the stairs a viable, and perhaps uncomfortable option.
The Corner with the Boxes
If you want an unbothered resting spot, go where the boxes are. Chances are they're empty, or maybe they're full of paper or t-shirts. While the contents of the boxes may vary, there is one constant: no one is packing them away, breaking them down, or shipping them. If they were, they would have done so four months ago. The drawbacks: the intern that you never see has probably figured this out months ago and is sleeping there right now. Bigger drawback: impossible before an office move.
The Toilet Nap
This is supposedly what those junior bankers did, but in truth, this is a practice that has been cultivated and sharpened by anyone with an imagination, a job that won't quit, courage, and a hangover. The true beauty here isn't the ability to lock the door for privacy. Rather, it's that rolls of toilet paper underneath a sweatshirt are excellent makeshift pillows. The obvious drawbacks here are that you may be mistaken for someone who died on the toilet or may become that person, the person who's responsible for all future toilet clogs. Also, this is not recommended if you have a dirty restroom.
Full Disclosure: You author may or may not have tested one or more of these naps during his career.