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27 August, 2007

Off their trolleys

The website of Office Angels, a recruitment agency, operates surveys of working habits.  Using a fake ID, I've just completed one on desk tidiness and holidays.  It seems to be more in in a spirit of fun than rigorous research, so I'm not sure whether the conclusions of an earlier survey, reported by the BBC, are to be taken seriously.

The suggestion is that workers would welcome a return to elements of a 'traditional' working environment: a tea trolley, subsidised canteen and an annual works outing.

I can think of little worse.

I definitely wouldn't be 'motivated' by a break to buy tea and cakes from a trolley wheeled door-to-door. Why would I wish to pay to drink stewed tea at intervals determined by my employer – I'll drink my own, fresh, when and as frequently as I choose, thanks. My motivation comes from caffeine, consumed by the shedload whilst I work rather than whilst pretending to listen to a person of negligible significance witter about his or her spawn.
Okay, that last bit's hyperbole and I don't really work with such people, but the point stands: few of my colleagues particularly interest me on a personal level.

Similarly, my morale and productivity wouldn't be remotely boosted by eating in a canteen, nor in a pub for a 'team lunch' (I don't drink, never mind operate within a team) nor, least of all by being obliged to attend an annual office outing. WTF?

Office Angels' managing director is quoted as saying "employees should be encouraged to interact with each other". No, thanks. I work with these people, and on the whole the atmosphere is amicable, but that's the full extent of the relationship, which doesn't extend to prolonged small-talk or socialising.

I have a life, and I have a job. They don't mix.

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