Opinion – U.K. warms to idea of Japanese-style office naps | The Japan Times – John Gelmini

I  agree with Dr Alf that work time must be effective and that Japanese style naps are a good idea. To that I would add the use of Lean practices and Japanese style continuous improvement.

However, the UK’s style of work differs from the world of 40 years ago. This was an age when Dr Alf could boast the thickest coating of snow on his car whilst working long hours. Also a time when Global Cooling was the fashion, BBC newsreaders wore bow ties and used received pronunciation, televisions had just 4 black and white channels and bank managers were middle aged men who wore 3 piece suits and could make lending decisions because they knew their customers.

UK worker productivity has never been very good, even going as far back as the 1850s, and even in the days of Dr Alf’s youth, we were losing whole industries like shipbuilding and car manufacturing to foreign competitors.

Today, UK worker productivity is 20th in the world ,and our state-education system, which was 1st in the world when Dr Alf was 10 years old, has slipped to 44th position, and is turning out people who cannot read, write, calculate and communicate in 1 case in 5. Under those conditions a lot of these people might just as well stay permanently napping because they are unfit for work of any kind. The rest are productive 32% of the time (public sector), and 48% of the time (private sector), which is 16% behind the average for the G7. For them, in between “power naps”, there perhaps needs to be the application to a certain part of their burgeoning anatomies that I can dimly remember from physics lessons as a schoolboy namely a bunsen-burner with the flame turned up to maximum intensity.

John Gelmini

U.K. warms to idea of Japanese-style office naps | The Japan Times

This article is currently top-trending in the Japan Times. It’s well worth a read!

via U.K. warms to idea of Japanese-style office naps | The Japan Times.

Personally, I support the trend. I think that the British macho attitude to work leaves a lot to desired. Young people compete to be the first in the office or the last out, with lunch being a hurried sandwich at the desk in front of the  computer screen. Of course, I was like that once, in my twenties – I remember a colleague was very impressed that my car had a much thicker snow covering than everybody else in the car-park.

Throughout my career, I spent a great deal of time overseas, especially across Europe and Asia. I soon learned to admire the French habit of taking a proper break for lunch, noticing that French colleagues worked later into the evenings too.

The bottom-line is that work-time needs to be effective. If a Japanese-style nap or a French lunch break help, so be it.

Thoughts?