24 May, 2006

Table talk

The latest lunatic decision by my gracious employers is perhaps their most demented yet.

It has been announced that due to increasing numbers of personnel and a finite office space, as of two weeks time all the desks on the first three floors of my building (which includes the office in which I work) will become what are known in the trade as 'hot desks'. In other words, they won't belong to anybody, they will belong to everybody.

So rather than do something inordinately sensible like, say, invest in a few more tables and chairs, management have decided to turn the building into one giant free-for-all, where the first in gets the run of the place and the pick of the desks, and those who get held up or delayed or are late in for any reason have to wander around demeaningly waiting for someone to pop into a meeting or nip out for a cigarette then steal their place.

It is the height of absurdity. I have never known anything like it. So much for instilling notions of dignity, co-operation and professionalism into your workforce; here lies the path towards ruthless competition for somewhere to sit, spite and jealously over who has stolen so and so's desk, and ultimately a cruel and morale-destroying atomisation of all the various teams and department upon whom the company has built its operations.

If you knew the organisation for whom I worked, you'd either be shocked at the way such an ostensibly influential giant international corporation treated its workforce, or ruefully unsurprised at how this decision conforms to the company's traditionally unscrupulous and heavy-handed reputation.

At least having only worked there for just under three months I don't feel like I've invested so much as to feel any wrench of having to change places - once in a while. If, however, it becomes a nightmarish roulette of musical desks with my associates dotted about the building on various floors, I can see the whole place, along with my already limited store of well-being, going to rack and ruin.

And all for the price of a bit more office furniture. Such is the pursuit of profit over a couple more swivel chairs.


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