Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

Desk-snoozers beware

Business person fallen asleep at desk during work hours

Given the current heatwave covering much of the planet, an idea developed in Japan to stop office workers snoozing at their desks may provide welcome relief.

The system, developed by air conditioning manufacturer Daikin and electronics giant NEC, detects sleepy workers and blasts them with cold air.

Trials have already begun in Japan of the system which uses facial recognition technology to monitor the movement of employees’ eyelids. A little shut-eye at the desk will invoke a blast of cooling air, lowering the room’s temperature to something a little less conducive to restful slumber.

The office sleep reduction system is the result of an initial study carried out by the two companies on how to keep workers alert. “Our study proved that lowering temperature is effective... especially when the early signs of sleepiness are detected,” said the companies in a joint statement.

It is hoped that the system will be introduced commercially by 2020, said a spokesperson. Daikin is also working on a version that can direct icy blasts at specific snoozing workers. Repeat offenders will no doubt be subject to pay freeze.