March 22, 2019
In honour of last week’s World Sleep Day, Brother UK investigated an octet of sleeping customs from across the globe, to find out if they could have a positive impact on business.
Citing research from the National Sleep Foundation, the OEM relays that lack of sleep can negatively affect emotions, and suggests that a 20-30 minute nap may make “for a more productive workforce, and have a positive impact on mood, concentration, and attention.”
Brother considered the sleep customs of eight different countries worldwide: China, Japan, Spain, Italy, Norway, Indonesia, Botswana, and the USA.
In factories and offices across China, the lines between bedroom and workspace are becoming increasingly blurred. Due to longer working hours, many employers now advocate a short nap after lunchtime to increase concentration. Certain offices have even installed temporary or permanent sleeping and washing facilities in their office spaces to encourage employees to stay round the clock.
Taking a nap at work could well be perceived as a sign of laziness or a poor attitude, but not in Japan. The hectic lifestyle of Japan’s city dwellers has led to the wide-scale uptake of “inemuri”, or “sleeping whilst present”. Thanks to inemuri, Japanese workers can nap on public transport, at their desk or even during meetings – and it’s commonly seen as a sign of hard work.
Originating in Spain and parts of Latin America, meanwhile, the siesta is perhaps one of the most well-known daytime snoozing traditions across the globe. This practice might be under threat, however, with new business laws introduced in 2016 limiting how late employees can work, and effectively reducing the time they have to squeeze in an afternoon nap.
Where the Spanish have a siesta, the Italians have “riposo”. Commonly taking place after lunch, riposo can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. Frustratingly for tourists, this means that many attractions are closed throughout the day. Unfortunately, the non-stop pace of modern industry means that fewer and fewer office workers are able to benefit from a midday snooze.
Take a stroll through Oslo, Helsinki or another Nordic town, continues Brother, and you might well see some infants taking a nap in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius. Sleeping outdoors in the daytime is believed to be very good for their health. Could local office workers take some inspiration to increase their productivity?
The ominously named ‘fear sleep’ of Indonesia is also considered. Locally referred to as “todoet poeles” – the practice of fear sleep enables people to nod off instantly to avoid feelings of excessive anxiety and stress. Nodding off when your boss walks in might not be the best solution, but regular naps could well help avoid work-related worry.
In Botswana, however, the country’s native Kung hunter-gatherer tribe are well known for sleeping only when tired, regardless of the time of day. With an increased uptake of flexi-time, rise in self-chosen hours and growth of contract-based work, could businesses be embracing the way of the Kung sooner than we think?
Finally, though it’s not a national custom just yet, sleeping on the job is widely being embraced by some of the USA’s biggest employers. Technology and software companies are leading the napping revolution, with firms like Google going so far as to have purpose-built sleeping pods installed in their offices to help employees rest and refresh.
Categories : Around the Industry