The Truth about Office Life

David Bolchover, author of The Living Dead: The Truth about Office Life, writing for the UK Times Newspaper in “Sickness at work: the big story” asks the big question: Why do smaller companies have fewer absences? And what can the big corporations do?

The Living Dead Book Cover

"It's a lovely, snug life, being employed by a large organisation. You stroll in to the office, you have a chat and a coffee and a couple of pointless meetings, all in the secure knowledge that your benevolent employer is going to put the same amount of cash in your bank account at the end of this month that it did last time. But for society as a whole, this languid complacency is a disaster........."

It seems very obvious, at least to me, that this 9-5 office culture is deeply harmful to our triple bottom-lines - economic, environmental and social.

Strategists and Policy Makers in government and big enterprise need to do much more to encourage a faster deployment of home/virtual working and portfolio careers.

David goes on to share some astonishing statistics about office life, such as:

  • 40 per cent of all casual drugs users in the US (people who use drugs just once a month) still choose to do it at work. 19.6 per cent of people who take drugs at work do so at their workstation.

  • One in three mid-week visitors to the theme park Alton Towers has taken the day off work on a dishonest pretext.

  • One in five US workers has had sex with a co-worker during work hours. Full sex, that is. 44 per cent of men and 35 per cent of women have had at least some sexual contact at work.

  • One third of UK young professionals are hungover at least twice a week on working days. Two thirds admitted to having called in sick due to alcohol at least once in the previous month.

  • 70 per cent of Internet porn sites are accessed during the 9 to 5 working day.

  • More than half of the UK's 14.5 million pet owners say they would need between two and five days off work to grieve for a dead pet, while 10 per cent said they would need as much as two weeks.

  • Monday (23 per cent) and Friday (25 per cent) are the days most commonly taken off sick by UK employees. Wednesday is the most rarely taken (8 per cent).

  • UK doctors receive 9 million 'suspicious' or 'questionable' requests each year for sick notes.


For more on this topic see:

Virtual Enterprise Design: the doughnut principle

Web surfing destroys office productivity: chilling new statistics

Managing Teams: David Brent of 'The Office' offers ten tips


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