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To end the blight of presenteeism, employers must start trusting workers with their time

Tanya Sweeney


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'Research is starting to claim that a less exhausted — and by extension, a happier workforce — is a more productive one'

'Research is starting to claim that a less exhausted — and by extension, a happier workforce — is a more productive one'

'Research is starting to claim that a less exhausted — and by extension, a happier workforce — is a more productive one'

A few years ago, I found myself working as a caretaker editor on a monthly magazine, while the editor proper went on sabbatical. It was one of the first times I’d ever really been The Gaffer. Before he departed, the editor warned me about the week in which the magazine went to press. “Don’t be surprised if you’re here until 11pm on that week,” he said. “It can get a bit hairy for a couple of days each month.”

In the first month, I noticed that one member of staff had a particularly creative flair. Not just in editorial: rather, she was a borderline genius at coming up with excuses for lateness. Her partner had locked her inside the apartment. She’d fallen off her bike. The Virgin Media guy didn’t come yesterday, so she had to sit in and wait for him to come from 8am-8pm. There’s a funeral to attend. The excuses got more and more creative, short of ‘my helicopter coming in from Inchicore can’t find a place to land’. It became the office running joke.


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