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.

8 comments:

Lee Mcewan said...

When I worked in Taiwan my colleagues used to all sleep at their desks for 30 minutes after their lunch.

I was never tempted to follow suit because our Australian-Polish Managing Director made no secret of the fact he thought all of the "locals" were lazy because he saw them sleeping in the office.

He didn't last.

i see what you mean said...

that is very interesting Lee as I believe naps at desks were compulsory in Taiwanese schools after lunch, seen as vital for sucessful learning in the afternoon. So, if school makes you do it, who is to argue with that in adult life? Funny how one authority wants you to nap to be industrious, the other sees it as a lack of idustry. Personally, I'm happy to vote for a post-lunch power nap.

johanna said...

I wanted to say hello. I have been reading your blog for about a month, and LOVE it. I'm in communications, and reading about China's culture is a huge interest of mind... love it! fascinating.

i see what you mean said...

thanks very much for that Johanna, very nice of you to say so, and if there's anything you would be interested in especially, let me know and I'll try and cover it

Michael W. said...

Nothing new in this. Back in the last century I recall my surprise at seeing the fuwuyuan at my hotel playing an electric organ to while away the hours between doling out flasks of kaishui.

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