August 11, 2022

Sleepy at work? Just stand inside this windowless box and take a power nap. 

That’s the pitch from two Japanese companies that have unveiled a “nap box” designed to encourage a healthier office culture for white-collar workers in Japan who are known for logging excruciatingly long hours. 

“In Japan, there are a lot of people who will lock themselves up in the bathroom for a while [to nap], which I don’t think is healthy,” Saeko Kawashima, communications director of furniture maker Itoki, told Bloomberg News. “It’s better to sleep in a comfortable location.”

The designers of the nap box say it’s the perfect place to take a power nap.
Itoki Corp.

The device, which resembles a sleek water heater, will support occupants’ heads, knees and rears so that they will not fall over, according to the outlet. 

The plan is to install the boxes in offices so that workers can take short power naps throughout the day. 

The designers hope the boxes will help address Japan’s strict office culture, which sees nearly one quarter of companies require employees to work more than 80 hours of overtime each month — often without extra pay — according to one 2016 government study reported by CNBC. 

Sleepiness on the job is so rampant that Bloomberg reports Japan has a special word — “inemuri” — for people who take naps to make it through long workdays or commutes. 

Japanese office workers
Japanese office workers frequently work excruciatingly long hours.
REUTERS

“I think a lot of Japanese people tend to work continuously with no breaks,” Kawashima said. “We are hoping that companies can use this as a more flexible approach to resting.”

The box is being designed by Itoki in collaboration with plywood firm Koyoju Gohan, Bloomberg reported. The companies have not yet decided on the boxes’ pricing and availability. 

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People took to Twitter on Friday to poke fun at the nap boxes, with one user joking, “This is how we get people back to the office.” 

“Capitalism always wins,” another Twitter user said.