Tuesday, September 05, 2006
40 winks 2
Previously I've mentioned opportunistic napping as seen on Chinese streets. The workplace is also a popular place to catch some sleep, another illustration of the blur between public spaces and private uses. This gentleman is napping in a florist shop (just in case you thought it was an Elton John style front room). I've regularly found myself tip toe-ing round small shops here in China not wanting to wake napping assistants with undue clattering of hangers or stock but I've also noticed offices are also good napping spots. This work and home blur is often down to the fourteen hour days and 6-7 day weeks worked in China, especially in retail. When so much time spent at work there's bound to be some sort of leisure/work time blurring, if only to fill dead time between customers. This leisure time 'creep' can extend to DVD/TV watching, making dinner on a portable stove, hair washing/styling (a restaurant staff fave), washing clothes and, as seen in my local bakery, skipping with a skipping rope in between the bread and cakes aisles. It's interesting that in the west this sort of workplace informality is the preserve of the hip and 'laid-back' creative industry while China has been pioneering it all these years as a standard workplace approach. If you are in a skate-board-down-the-corridors-table-football-and-coffee-lounge type office I recommend you push it further to include hair-cutting, washing clothes, cooking and napping at your desk to see just how laid-back things really are. Of course, long hours aren't the only reason for this, another key reason is that workplaces often offer things that are lacking at home; hot water, space, internet or DVD access and free (to the user) electricity.