Finnish Orchestras Get Coffee Machines, Saunas

Some Finnish orchestra musicians will get saunas at the "office."(Photo: MiikaS (Flickr))
Some Finnish orchestra musicians will get saunas at the "office."(Photo: MiikaS (Flickr))

You know it’s been a slow summer for classical music news when the hot stories are Yuja Wang’s wardrobe missteps and saunas for orchestras in Finland.

In a post on his Slipped Disc blog, Norman Lebrecht mentioned some perks of the new facilities for two Finnish orchestras. The Helsinki Philharmonic gets new coffee machines, and the Finnish Radio Orchestra gets “His” and “Hers” saunas.

As a Finn by marriage, I’d like to chime in with a few thoughts. In a country where many, if not most, private homes boast saunas and where coin-operated saunas exist on city streets, it’s not such a strange idea for a place of business to have saunas for its employees, especially when the professionals in said “business” must keep their muscles warm and supple. It feels good to be warm, especially in a climate as cold as Finland’s. Personally, I see a “corporate” sauna as a tremendous holistic health benefit.

Google is famous for its on-site bowling alley and other appurtenances that foster creativity and esprit de corps. I know of one office where employees are encouraged to play at their leisure with a selection of children’s toys in residence in the conference room, all in the name of shaking loose the next great idea. And, of course, any number of workplaces offer on-site yoga and meditation classes to help employees tame job-related stress.

So if orchestras in Finland can have saunas (and, after all, why not?), what kinds of holistic bennies would your dream workplace offer?

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