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The opposite of absenteeism, in which employees are so scared of losing their jobs through downsizing, delayering or just simple redundancy that they work excessive hours or remain at work in the evenings in order to be seen to be there even when there is nothing to do. The result is high levels of stress, unhappiness and poor performance, ironically increasing the risk of the very disaster they are hoping to avoid. It is a problem that has become recognised as grave in the USA, though rarely so in Britain as yet. The better employers are now insisting that workers stick to their proper hours and take their holiday entitlements; they also provide flexible working hours, social and sporting activities, informal dress codes (or days on which one can dress informally: dress-down Fridays is one name for them), and other de-stressing techniques.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.

Page created 31 Aug 1996