A Better Working Environment!

Posted on February 19, 2016

I have long been an advocate of a nicer working environment creating better results from employees who, in nicer surroundings, respond accordingly.

In fact you can take this into other aspects of life as well; football supporters for instance. When, in the not too distant past, football fans were caged into terraces and regularly kicked around by Thatcher’s boot boys, they responded like animals but as soon as the fences came down, the violence abated…maybe a story for another day.

When I was a young Civil Servant in the mid 1980’s, the office environment was enough to make you want to kill yourself, with everything seeming to turn black and white the minute I passed through the door with R.W. Lethaby – Admin Assistant, written on it.

I think that is the only title I have ever had on a plaque on a door, although I guess I could now call myself a Managing Director or CEO if I wanted to be a total cretin. Does CEO stand for Cretinous Executive Officer?

My boss, an institutionalised lunatic with an unhealthy adoration for the British establishment, had taken 30 years to get two positions further up the rung from me and was grandly titled Executive Officer, with the potential to become a HEO (Higher Executive  Officer) at somewhere between the tail end of her menopause and retirement.

The reward for her position of power was vast array of two-piece tartan outfits, cork-lined tights and the permission to tell us all to “Have some hush” as we went about our important roles of taking documents to the photocopying room in between staring at the clock for eight hours.

It was when I escaped this holiday camp for the mentally ill that I vowed that anyone who works for me or, in association with me, should be entitled to at least some human kindness to make their day at least a little more tolerable.

Many companies have latched on to this, creating comfortable seating, nice office furniture, clean WC’s and areas to take a break away from their desks. The rewards for business owners are there for all to see, with staff less desperate to leave the premises at lunch time before, in a state of misery, taking the afternoon off sick.

People in the Civil Service were often disappearing half way through the day out of pure desperation; I pretended I was in a car crash one lunch time, a desperate measure that backfired when a Mrs McCleay supergrass spotted me on my push-bike pulling up in The Fox & Hounds car park.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) because the Civil Service was often used to halt the unemployment figures spiralling up to the four million mark, you would have to have been on a par with Peter Sutcliffe to have got the sack and even then you might have got away with a verbal.

So anyway, despite knowing what it is like to work with poor equipment and furniture, it is something I have punished myself with during virtually the entirety of my time working for myself in different studies/converted garages/bedrooms across Hampshire.

It is almost like I have been trained to be ludicrously frugal with my own business, perpetually buying crap desks and chairs from cheap and nasty retailers like Staples. Actually, that is harsh on Staples because they are good for basic office stuff, but their furniture is awful.

I reckon that in nineteen years of trading, I have got through about ten shit desks and chairs without having one fond memory of any of the creaking, collapsing flat-pack boxes of utter shite I have purchased. I don’t know why I have done it to myself; maybe it is something to do with working on my own and my need to have something to swear at in the absence of humans?

Well that has changed today as I have spent a proper tidy sum on a solid oak desk that arrived already built, solid as steel and not uttering one irritating creek. If my dear old Grandma had still been alive she would have said, “Och Rabbie, isn’t it a wee smasher” and she would be quite correct, it is indeed a wee smasher.


Nineteen year wait: Nice desk

For years I have always tried to spend a bit extra on my house furniture to make the place look okay, but I have totally neglected the place I spend most of my day. That’s insane isn’t it?

So now my office environment is upgraded, my clients can expect an even better service than the one they already have, not that many of them could possibly believe I could actually get better…well, apart from the one I let down in spectacular fashion last week.

I might even change my title…Robert W. Lethaby, CEO of CBS Recruitment has a certain ring to it don’t you think?

If you have just vomited on your keyboard, don’t send me the bill.

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