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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Late risers unite in Denmark
By Chris Morris
BBC News, Denmark

If you find it hard to get up in the morning, don't despair - you're not lazy, you're just genetically programmed that way, says the B-Society in Denmark.

Alarm clock
The sound of the alarm is dreaded by B-people everywhere

I have still got a rather nasty bruise on my shin at the moment after the flawed execution of my latest elaborate plan - to make sure I did not miss the dreaded early morning flight.

I was sleeping rather fitfully in the spare room downstairs, trying to avoid waking up the rest of the house, when the time ticked around to 4.30.

First the phone alarm on the bedside table chirruped. I soon dealt with that.

But then one minute later the alarm clock cunningly hidden on the other side of the room burst into life.

The trick is to place an obstacle - in this case my son's rickety wooden rocking horse - in your path, making immediate access difficult.

Now I know it is not my fault. I am a B-person
The idea, obviously, is that by the time you find the blasted clock you are awake.

The trouble was, in this case, in my bleary-eyed trance, I forgot about the horse altogether and crashed into it at some speed.

Searing pain, followed by muffled obscenities, left me lying in a heap on the floor, the alarm clock still beeping impatiently.

I made the flight, the sunrise looked lovely, but boy do I hate mornings.

But it is OK. Now I know it is not my fault. I am a B-person.

A B-person - as opposed to an A-person - genetically pre-disposed to operate better and to be more alert later in the day.


Denmark it seems is full of B-people. So where better to form the B-society?

Six months after it was set up, it already boasts several thousand members.

Now it is campaigning hard for businesses to sign up to its B-certification list.

The glazed looks on the faces of grumpy commuters are disturbingly familiar

"We're calling," the society proclaims in its manifesto, "for an uprising against the tyranny of early rising."

Mmm, sounds good.

But how does it work in practice?

Rush-hour in Copenhagen seems relatively sedate to me - it is certainly not central London on a wet Monday morning.

But the glazed looks on the faces of grumpy commuters are disturbingly familiar.

So, time to find some B-pioneers.

Flexible working

One strong cup of coffee later and I was on my way to meet Stephen Alstrup who runs his own B-certified company.

Metro train in Copenhagen, Denmark
Empty tube trains are one of the joys for Denmark's B-people
By the time he gets to his train station the platform is empty and so are most of the seats on his commuter train.

"I'm useless early in the morning," he says cheerfully. "All I can do is drink coffee, and stare into space."

"People used to get up early because they had to feed the animals. But I haven't got any cows or chickens, so I can sleep late."

And when we get to Stephen's office, that is empty too - apart from one member of staff who has been there most of the night and is just leaving, and the company's only A-person who actually enjoys the early start.

The rest of them arrive when they choose - any time up to 3.30pm or so - each to their own rhythm.

Business benefits

It is a small hi-tech company and Stephen needs brains which are working at full speed.

It used to be called disorganised but not any more

"Everybody gains," he says, "they're here when they're fully awake, and the business benefits."

More confusing for me is the guy who works to a 25 hour clock.

If he is in at 10 today, it will be 11 tomorrow, then 12 - you can get the general idea.

I do not know where his cycle had got to when we called at the office but there was certainly no sign of him by midday.

It used to be called disorganised, but not any more, not in Denmark. His body clock is just different.

And it is not just businesses which are getting in on the act.

Are you a teenager who cannot get out of bed in the morning?

Or a parent who never quite gets the kids to school on time?

Fear not - the Danes may have the solution: B-classes.

Work-life balance

From next year a school in Copenhagen will offer classes which start later in the day - at 10 instead of eight. It is likely to prove popular.

Some people might think you're lazy - but there's more to it than that
Danish Minister Carina Christensen

Even the government seems to like the idea.

Work-life balance is a big political issue in Denmark, Families Minister Carina Christensen tells me.

And B-philosophy fits right in with the need for a flexible labour force.

When I confess that I think I am a B-person, she gives me a comforting smile.

"Don't worry," she says, "some people might think you're lazy - but there's more to it than that."

Well, I hope so. The B-society and its founder Camilla Kring are certainly convinced that they are on to a winner.

"It's a 24/7 society," she says, as we sit in a park and watch some swans... swanning around.

"Our institutions have got to move with the times."

Quite so. Which means the choice should be yours. As one famous Dane once said: "To B or not to B?"

In modern life, that really is the question.

From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Thursday, 14 June, 2007 at 1100 BST on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service transmission times.

Country profile: Denmark
19 Apr 07 |  Country profiles

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