Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Seriously, do you have nothing better to do?

The background: recently a mobile phone was stolen from my work office. It had been left lying on a desk in the IT room. As it was an 'unassigned phone', it was only a month or so later, when the bill arrived with a couple of hundred quid rung up on it, that anyone noticed...

The response is a planned "clean desk policy". I don't have anything against cleanliness. But I can't help but feeling this is a kneejerk reaction to one person's carelessness. I feel like writing a sarcastic email to our HR guy who sent round the memo which talked about the policy. If I was going to send an email, it would read something like this...

Hi N---

I read about the clean desk policy in the tidy up day memo. I realise the new policy is a reaction to the theft of a mobile phone from a desk in Garth House, but I'm not sure it's the best way to respond to that situation.

For one thing, clean desk policies mainly apply to paperwork. Now, I'm no expert on these matters, but I am fairly confident in asserting that most would-be thieves are not really going to bother with a sheaf of papers.

Also, I'm interested to know how the clean desk policy is going to be enforced, or even if it's going to be. Are people going to patrol the building after 5pm putting everything off desks into a bin? Will this be a management role? Are our managers so desperate for something to do, they need to check whether my desk is tidy? If so, I will happily occupy their time by passing them some of the work I don't have time to do. On the plus side, if they are going to bin paperwork off untidy desks, I think I've found a fantastic new way of getting rid of work I don't want to do...

Will we get black marks if we don't tidy our desks? Will there be a grading system and prizes for the tidiest desk? Realistically, will this policy achieve anything other than making managers look petty-minded and fussy?

Just out of interest, if you haven't had anything valuable stolen from your desk, ever, do you still have to conform to the clean desk policy?

Don't you think this policy is a severe over-reaction? Why penalise everyone for one person's mistake?

As you can probably tell, I think this new policy is silly. I don't know about you, but I prefer to be treated as a grown up at work. If I wanted to be treated like a five year old, I'd go back to school.

Thanks for reading my annoyed rant. I'm sure it won't achieve anything, but I'm hopeful it might.

Lots of love and hugs and stuff


I doubt I'm going to send this email, but as a number of work peeps look at my blog, who knows where my remarks may end up...

(And if they agree with me, maybe those peeps will comment, instead of referencing my blog over lunch)


  1. *Laughs* I admit that when the email came around about the 'tidy up day' it did get deleted before I'd read it all.
    I have decided to sabotage peoples desks and then blame other departments!
    The whole thing does sound a bit 'perfect home' in as much as will the others in my room shun me if the dust gets over 1mm deep? Do i get my p45 for a coffe stain!!!!!
    Surely the more efficient thing to do is to ask staff not to leave valuables unattended or at least keep stuff out of sight?!?! Oh well, 'efficiency' isn't in our values statement anyway...

  2. Anonymous20/8/08 09:29

    Don't worry Jon, I'm sure a rota will shortly be circulated so that everyone has a turn at checking up on desks!

    Anyway, what about those of us who *always* have a tidy desk? Do we have to go even further and start keeping our in trays in our drawers or something?

  3. Maybe a desktidying stakeholder group could be established? I shouldn't joke, it will probably be in the next email...

  4. "what about those of us who *always* have a tidy desk?"

    *Laughs so hard a little bit of wee comes out*... Good one Clare :)

  5. People with tidy desks don't have enough work to do IMO