Long hours, stress and physical inactivity are bad for our wellbeing â€“ yet weâ€™re working harder than ever. Isnâ€™t it time we fought back?
When a new group of interns recently arrived at Barclays in New York, they discovered a memo in their inboxes. It was from their supervisor at the bank, and headed: â€œWelcome to the jungle.â€� The message continued: â€œI recommend bringing a pillow to the office. It makes sleeping under your desk a lot more comfortable â€¦ The internship really is a nine-week commitment at the desk â€¦ An intern asked our staffer for a weekend off for a family reunion â€“ he was told he could go. He was also asked to hand in his BlackBerry and pack up his desk.â€�
Although the (unauthorised) memo was meant as a joke, no one laughed when it was leaked to the media. Memories were still fresh of Moritz Erhardt, the 21-year-old London intern who died after working 72 hours in a row at Bank of America. It looked as if Barclays was also taking the â€œwork ethicâ€� to morbid extremes.
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