Seoul city hall to allow nap time for employees

July 17, 2014

By Lee Hyo-sik

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) said Thursday that it will allow its employees to take a nap in the early afternoon during August in a bid to boost their work efficiency.

Benchmarking siestas, short naps usually taken after lunch that are a common tradition in Spain and South American nations, City Hall will allow workers to sleep for up to an hour at workplaces.

But those taking the break will have to make up for the time by either coming to the office early or working late.

If implemented as planned, the city government will become the first public institution here to do such a thing.

“The city government decided to permit any employees to take a nap between 1 and 6 p.m. They can sleep for a maximum of one hour,” said an SMG spokesman, who declined to be named. “Only employees at City Hall can take advantage of the siesta from Aug. 1. But those at our affiliated institutions cannot.”

People tend to lose focus in the early afternoon after lunch, and even more so during the summer. Many health reports show that taking a short nap in the afternoon helps workers perform better.

According to the spokesman, many SMG workers take naps in the office during their lunch break, between noon and 1 p.m. Even though there are staff lounges and other places where workers can take a break, they are rarely used because employees are not allowed to rest during work hours.

Those who want to take a nap need to submit an application to their supervisors when they come to work in the morning. If workers take a nap for an hour, they will have to either come to work at 8 a.m. or leave the office at 7 p.m. SMG employees are obliged to work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Employees can use lounges, conference rooms and other places to rest. Frankly, I don’t think many will go for siestas because they have to make up for lost hours,” the spokesman said. “Nonetheless, the city government will spend more money next year to create more rest areas for employees.”