How Louis Theroux’s power nap plan could transform our working lives


Name: Sleep booths.

Age: They’ve been around for a while; Count Dracula was an early adopter.

Appearance: A little coffin of tranquility.

What are they for? Sleeping in.

Why wouldn’t you just sleep in your bed? You might be at work.

Why would I want to sleep at work when I could be shopping online? You might find a post-lunch power nap restorative.

I’m sure I would, but my boss prefers me to be awake when I’m at my desk. Then a sleep booth could be the answer.

Who thinks this is a good idea? Louis Theroux.

The TV documentary maker? Yes. “In my utopian society, at work you would have a sleep booth,” he said.

Was he being serious? I can never tell.

He is definitely an inveterate office napper. “The BBC used to have these toilets where if you didn’t move then, after three minutes, the lights would go off,” he said on the Joe Wicks podcast. “I’d kind of lean my head forward on my chin, or even a hand on my chin, and within a minute I would be out.”

Oh God. I feel seen. “And then after about 10 minutes I would wake up,” he said. “Usually with some drool on my chin.”

That is why you bring a bib in with you. Or you install sleep booths.

Forgive me if I don’t hold my breath until that particular utopian pipe dream comes to pass. Workplace nap pods are very much a part of right now. Manufacturers such as Podtime have installed them around the world to give employees the downtime they need to remain productive.

It sounds like a good place to hide until the monthly planning meeting is over. How much do they cost? They start at a little more than £4,000 each.

I don’t think the company I work for would consider that value for money. Never mind – there are a growing number of capsule hotels where you can pop in for a sleep during your lunch hour.

I’ve been working from home for five months. My bed is closer. Ah, but you can’t sleep in the middle of a Zoom meeting.

Are you kidding? That’s what the glasses with eyeballs painted on them are for. When it’s finally time to return to the office, many of us will have new ideas about how the workday proceeds.

As long as the lights in the loos still go off after three minutes, I’m ready. Me too.

Do say: “Someone’s in here.”

Don’t say: “With the security deposit, it’s £800 per calendar month, utilities not included.”