Culture December 15th, 2017

Zappos Nap Room Has Employees Sleeping With The Fishes

The room is dark and serene as I peer through the dense glass.

Inside, I can make out the figures of three seemingly lifeless bodies in repose. Schools of vibrant saltwater fish swim aimlessly; blissfully unaware of the fading humans below. The scene is calm, almost serene, and I too am feeling relaxed. I just want to sleep. For a little while.

As I quietly push the door open, I walk past the three occupied massage chairs and sit at the end of the row. Reclining back, I look up in awe at the aquarium arched above my head.

Welcome to the swimmingly amazing nap room at Zappos.com!

This 25-foot long, 3,500-gallon saltwater aquarium was handcrafted by Wayde King and Brett Raymer, stars of Animal Planet’s “Tanked.” The two are also cofounders of Las Vegas-based Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM).

Throughout its seven-year television series, ATM has made custom fish tanks for Las Vegas casinos and celebrities alike, including Betty White, Tracy Morgan, Tyga and 2 Chainz. But none of those hold a pole to the tank created for Zappos.

It took eight weeks to deconstruct the adjoining conference rooms and replace with the tranquil fish tank.

Zappos has long been a believer in office naps. Dating back to the company’s early days, an enclosed place for cots, pods and couches have always been available to employees. With around-the-clock customer service, sometimes a power nap is all it takes to recharge one’s batteries.

“It’s been proven that a 20-minute nap makes people more effective during the day.”

- Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Marketplace.org

But installing a grossly oversize aquarium goes well beyond a dedicated nap room. It harkens back to company culture and ensuring employees are happy.

“For us, our number one priority as a company is company culture,” said Hsieh in a 2010 interview with Marketplace. “Our whole belief is that if we get the culture right, then most of the other stuff, like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own.”

Zappos was highlighted on the “Tanked” season finale, which aired on December 15. Click here to stream the full episode on Animal Planet!