Goldman Sachs runs an annual summer internship program which spans across company lines to Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays Bank. This year, the companies took an impressive 2,900 summer interns. The internship, which is infamous for being tough and unsympathetic, had to take a close look at itself after one intern, a 21 year old, was found unconscious in his shower two years ago.
The intern had purportedly worked a 72 hour straight shift for the company in their London offices. When he came home to shower, he suffered from epileptic seizures as a result of sleep deprivation and the bank's consistent all-nighters. The intern had been taking medication for his epilepsy, but the marathon work session led to a seizure that took his life.
Since the intern's passing, Goldman Sach announced that an intern's day must be capped at 17 hours, meaning they needed to spend at least 7 hours a night away from the job. Still, 17 hours straight seems excessive, especially for our friends across the pond.
Here in America, the sentiment of work life balance still seems lost, though maybe not as egregiously as in the banking industry in London. According to the 2015 Workplace Index as compiled by Staples, 40% of employees seek employment elsewhere due to workplace burnout. Almost half of those who participated in the survey expressed hope that their workload would decrease in order to minimize burnout. Workers also expressed that workplace flexibility and understanding would motivate them to work productively for the company. When faced with an opportunity to rise in the company or organization, 86% of employees felt motivated to succeed and were happier.
In a world where we are constantly plugged in, the common work week has stretched from 40 hours to 47 hours, tacking on almost one full day more worth of work. “It's not a surprise that employees are feeling overworked and burn out…Businesses nationwide are tasked to do more with less…employers need to adjust to win the war for talent and optimize productivity, engagement, and loyalty with employees,” says workplace expert Dan Schawbel.
Source: Salon.com and Staples Advantage Workplace Index