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Quiet Please: Civil Servants Asleep

Monday, January 22nd, 2007 at 13:28 by Matt Rhodes

How’s your morning been? Stressful? Feeling like you need a lie down? Well you need to get a job in Bangkok where Civil servants are invited to nap.

Of course, British Civil Servants have been doing this for generations but if you work in the Pathumwan district of Bangkok it’s not seen as gross misconduct. The city has introduced a new program to increase productivity in it’s municipal offices.  At just after noon, the blinds get drawn in the ‘nap room’ and the Civil Servants are invited to fall asleep. The soft sigh of gentle music, the fragrant scent of flowers and a strictly no mobile phones or talking rule adds to the mood.

Surakiet Limcharoen a top official in the city introduced the procedure in November. A long term lunchtime napper himself, Mr Limcharoen believes people use it to recharge their batteries before a nightshift.

The room itself is wood panelled with a conference table in the centre where people can rest their heads. There are 20 regular nappers out of a staff of 200 at the municipal offices where they deal with taxes and I.D card registration.

How about that then? Everyone needs a while to digest that pub lunch and pint of lager you’ve just thrown down your throat. I can see making this official catching on. Office workers all over the country hugging teddy bears and sucking thumbs. It would be a lovely, peaceful sight don’t you think? You could have story time as well, along with supplying free milk.

I’m going to have stop writing now, my eyes are drooping. Can someone give me a nudge in an hour?

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2 Comments on “Quiet Please: Civil Servants Asleep”

  1. theo Says:

    This is a welcome move away from the European culture sweeping the world. The 9 to 5 mentality so unsuited to the culture of the Orient is turning people into husks of their former self, in short the state and the business community are exploiting thier workers to fit into worldwide Anlgo expectations while thier own culture is pushed back and diminished so subtley that the people forget it. In Greece where the welcome afternoon siesta has been banned by the civil service and the business sector the result has been extraordinary rush hours, pollution and a curtailment of city entertainment life. People are more likely to struggle home in the rush hour traffic to pick up kids or escape the pollution in the high summer tempretures than simply close up shop and open at four and go through to seven or eight pm. Confusing it might be to tourists who want service NOW but Athens is less inviting because of it. I hope bangok begins to reclaim its culture and become a city of peaceful tranquility during the new “siesta”.

  2. Sue Stewart Says:

    I agree. The working week as we know it is based almost entirely on a work ethic that - well, doesn’t work. It just leads to tiredness, stress, bad organisation and rush hours.

    When I first visited Spain and Greece the siesta seemed strange to me, but not unwelcome - the opposite, in fact. It’s a shame that over here the only people promoting calls for much-needed rest and relaxation are the ones who are going to make a profit from it - the so-called leisure and lifestyle ‘industries’.

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