Busy Office Workers Seek Quick Respite
The EnergyPod, made by MetroNaps, contains a built-in alarm function to make sure the user wakes from their nap.
Tired and stressed-out salaried workers are flocking to a new type of establishment where they can relax or take power naps during the day.
Relaxation parlors are popping up all around Gangnam, Myeong-dong and Hongik University areas. They feature high-tech massage chairs and often have their hands full keeping up with customers.
One shop in the business-district of Jong-no has hammocks. Customers put on a pair of slippers and can stretch out and sleep. The shop is popular among office workers in their 20s and 30s and always packed at lunchtime.
One 29-year-old regular said, "I used to get some sleep hunched over on my desk at work or sitting on the toilet in the men's room, but here I can lie down and rest much more comfortably."
Busy office workers rarely have the time or energy for recreational activities after work or at weekends. Koreans still work 2,163 hours a year on average, 393 hours more than the OECD average.
A Statistics Korea survey last year showed 81.3 percent of respondents feel tired, and the ratio of fatigued people was the highest among 20- and 30-somethings.
Lee Eun-hee at Inha University said, "The fact that young people, who should be the most active, are desperate for rest demonstrates just how much fatigue Korean society is experiencing."