There have been many days in my law firm career when I would have done pretty terrible things to be able to openly sleep in my office.
Unfortunately, my firm decided a few years back that it wasn't enough to take our hours and sanity, but our privacy as well, and added a strip of see-through glass paneling on each of our offices. This change allowed passersby to peer in and judge us while we picked our noses or stared off into nothingness wondering what our lives could have been. On top of that, many of my colleagues had the terrible habit of immediately bursting into my office after making eye contact with me.
Well, my friends, I will be sharing a few methods that I used to successfully avoid human contact and catch some shut-eye in the office after a long night of soul-sucking work.
1. Keep a Headset On at All Times
No one at a law firm respects your time or space unless you have the sacred headset on your head. I'm talking about the deceptive contraption that may seem like it's removing the burden of having to cradle a heavy phone against your face. In reality, it's simply freeing your hands so that you can MULTITASK! Work more in less time! But make sure to still bill a lot!
Anyway, put on the headset, turn away from the door (or wherever any glass paneling is in your office), rest your head on your hands in a tripod-like fashion or lean back in your chair. In both cases, it should be clear that you are wearing a headset.
Your nosy colleagues, hungry for your time, who walk by and glance into your office will think that you're on an important call and fade away into the darkness, hopefully, to never return.
Some things to keep in mind—there is a real possibility that you may get a legitimate phone call during this time and it will startle you. If you are a high-strung mess like myself, you may react physically and hurl yourself out of your chair, potentially ripping your office phone off your desk. This will be awkward to explain to the IT person when they find your phone in pieces on the floor with exposed wires protruding from your desk, but they are used to dealing with tough personalities, so feel free to blame external circumstances for what happened (e.g., the phone hardware, global warming, politics, etc.).
2. Find a Nook Under Your Desk
The second best way to sleep in your office uninterrupted is to present as though you are not there at all. Find a space under your desk and, without drawing attention to yourself, begin turning it into a second bedroom.
Remember that sleeping bag that you bought before you started practicing law, that you thought you'd use for camping trips every weekend? Well, let's be honest with ourselves and salvage its potential now while we can and bring that into the office for storage under your desk. Make sure that you can't be blatantly seen from any gaps or openings in your desk's structure, but generally lying very still does the trick too.
Don't forget that your absence should only look temporary, lest your colleagues question your productivity and commitment to the firm. That being the case, if possible and applicable, turn off the light-saving mode on your office lights so they don't switch off in the middle of your REM sleep.
Once rested up, be sure to also emerge from your desk covertly. Your colleagues will find it alarming if they see you crawling out from under your desk, especially if you look the way I do after any period of unconsciousness—like I've been electrocuted.
3. Adversely Possess Someone Else's Vacant Office
The third method is finding a vacant office and taking a nap in there. This works best if the vacant office is in a remote corner of the firm building—in other words, not facing a row of secretaries or right across from a heavily trafficked area (e.g., bathroom, coffee machine, kitchen, etc.). It's most ideal if the office is actually vacant and does not yet belong to anyone because (A) no one would typically expect anyone to be in there and, (B) just think of the awkwardness of explaining why you are drooling on a colleague's desk when he or she returns from a dentist appointment.
When employing this strategy, be wary of days when your office may be experiencing a higher volume of visiting attorneys or new lawyers starting. Your office colleagues may know you for the weirdo that you are, but you may still be able to dupe attorneys from other offices into thinking you're a well-functioning adult... As long as they don't find you in a half-conscious state in their temporary office.
There you go. Hopefully, some of these suggestions will allow you to at least marginally decrease your sleep deficit.
Have you found more effective ways of sleeping in the office?
Check out this article and similar posts on Medium.