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The secret nap room in Swedish workplaces you didn't know about

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
The secret nap room in Swedish workplaces you didn't know about
Does your workplace have a nap room for sleeping on the job? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Napping or resting during the workday is not taboo in Sweden – instead, ensuring employees are able to work well-rested is an important part of providing a good work environment.


This doesn't just mean providing comfy chairs in a break room: if you work in a larger workplace with 50 employees or more, your employer should also provide you with a nap room (vilrum), where it is possible to lie down and rest.

You may also have heard the term vilorum to describe this room – this term is not technically correct (as it traditionally refers to someone's final resting place rather than the room in which you have a quick nap during a busy work day) but is commonly used in spoken Swedish.

The Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket – yes, it's real) has rules on what a nap room should look like, listing that it should be "a rest room for temporary, undisturbed and lying rest", and should include "a bed with pillow and blanket, table, chair, bedside lamp, clothes hook and a mirror".

In terms of decoration, the authority also recommends that "it is good if colours and materials give the room a calm character". A toilet should also be close to the nap room – if not, then the room should include a washbasin.


Depending on the type of work you do, your employer may also need to provide you with showers and changing rooms, with strict rules stating that facilities should be separated by gender, and should be large enough to accommodate everyone who is likely to need to use them at the same time.

Employees in smaller workplaces may not have access to a dedicated nap room, but their employers should make sure that they have access to a quiet, calm area in which to rest, which can quickly provide employees with an area to lie down and sleep if needed.

Pregnant women are also entitled to nap at work. Photo: Lise Åserud/TT

The Work Environment Authority especially stresses that if you're pregnant, your employer should provide you with somewhere to lie down and rest, whether this is a dedicated room or another quiet, private area of the workplace which can quickly become a place to take a nap.

It's not just employees who have a right to a nap room in Sweden: this applies to students at schools and universities as well. Nap rooms in schools are often placed close to the school nurse's office and are provided for students to rest, for example if they have a headache or feel sick.


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