South Korea's workers slog through some of Asia's longest workdays, which makes the Seoul metropolitan government's move to encourage afternoon 'siestas' all the more surprising.
The capital's municipal government told its 10,000 employees they will be allowed to take a nap of up to an hour between 1pm and 6pm from August this year, according to reports from South Korea's Yonhap News Agency this week.
The move is designed to improve work productivity, especially for those working long hours, and to provide a solution to staff complaints of fatigue and discomfort. Designated areas will be allocated to allow workers to catch up on their beauty sleep in the building's staff break room and empty conference rooms.
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According to the National Sleep Foundation, while napping does not necessarily make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness and performance, without leaving you groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.
However, employees who choose to take advantage of this offer will have to make up lost time by working overtime to ensure their required eight-hour days are completed. They will also have to warn their supervisors in the morning about their afternoon-nap plans.
The Metropolitan Government is following in the footsteps of other global companies who have started to offer facilities for employees to take naps when they need to, including news organization the Huffington Post.
Companies including internet giant Google and U.S. consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble have purchased 'EnergyPods,' chairs designed by MetroNaps specifically for power naps in the office, according to reports by Today. MetroNaps claims they designed the chairs to combat workplace fatigue.
South Korea's working environment can be grueling, even for hard-working Asia. In 2010, South Koreans worked an average of 2,111 hours per person per year, the highest among the 34 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD average in 2010 was 1,749 hours per week.