Jakarta’s workers steal time to catch some Zs

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 05/04/2010 11:14 AM | City

One thing your boss and your children have in common is that they both hate the idea of you having a little nap.

Bustling Jakarta seems to be a difficult environment for residents to have a kip. The nine-to-five work hour, deadlines, clients and bosses are all factors that leave no room for people to even take a break. In this city, time is a precious commodity.

But of course, those conditions won’t stop Jakartans from napping during their day. Using their own creativity, they will try to have a brief sleep away from prying eyes to avoid risking their jobs or a yell from supervisors.

“I take a nap with my friends in the car. We would go to the parking lot and get some sleep there,” 28-year-old employee Harry Simorangkir told The Jakarta Post.

Harry said he frequently took naps during break time. After having lunch, he sleeps for 15 to 30 minutes before going back to work.

“I feel fresh and can better concentrate on my job,” he said.

A number of health studies recommend companies allow employees to nap because it can improve the worker productivity.

A research from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in 2007 showed that a nap for just 26 minutes could boost performance by 34 percent.

Sleep physician Andreas Prasadja stresses the importance of a nap to maintain people’s creativity in their work.

“Imagine you are forced to work for hours with no rest. This condition along with the deadlines will kill the workers’ creativity,” he told the Post.

Therefore, he suggests Jakarta’s employers allow their workers to have a brief snooze, if not for their workers’ sake, then for the sake of their businesses.

Many companies in other countries have applied a policy that allows their workers to take a nap. Firms in Japan prepare a special room for the employees to take a nap, while Chinese companies have a regulation that acknowledges workers’ rights to take a nap after lunch.

These companies have responded to studies that claim tired workers cause about US$150 billion in productivity losses every year.

Companies in Jakarta seem to be ignorant of the facts. There is not one firm in the city that has a “nap policy”, a fact that Andreas says because of lack of awareness.

Like Harry, many people go to extremes, like taking naps in the toilet or running away to the nearest park or mosque and employing colleagues as their partners in crime.

“I will ask my friends to wake me up when there is a meeting,” Irwan Rouf, 32, who works as an editor, says.

Rouf’s colleague even lends him a pillow anytime he needs 40 winks.

“My boss doesn’t seem to mind,” he said.