This week’s guru

Underlaying condition can cost firms a pile

The importance of a pleasant working environment has been underlined by new
research, which claims that smelly office carpets can affect productivity.

A study carried out at the Technical University of Denmark has concluded
that the smell given off by old carpets puts staff off work.

In an experiment set up by Professor Ole Fanger, volunteers spent four hours
doing simple office tasks while odour from a 20-year-old carpet that had never
been cleaned wafted around the room.

Professor Fanger found the volunteers were significantly less productive
when exposed to the smell from the hidden bits of carpet than when working
under normal odourless conditions.

Guru has no doubt that these findings are correct – his work output
certainly suffered the time it took him two weeks to find his misplaced sardine
and chutney sandwiches (second draw down under the hole-puncher) – urghhhhhh!

Literary sprint would be fairer

Who goes and who stays when organisations merge or downsize is a tricky
issue for HR – particularly when there is nothing to choose between two

In Canada, an unlucky librarian lost her job on the toss of a coin after
Hamilton Public Library merged with one in Wentworth and Dundas.

The two librarians were competing for one position and had worked for
exactly the same length of time and had equal qualifications, so under union
rules the decision was made by coin toss.

Guru thought a more pragmatic approach would have been to set up some sort
of literature challenge. First one to find War and Peace, The Great Gatsby and
complete works of Freud and sprint a lap of the building gets the job.

Jail break given a new meaning

Personnel Today reported (News, 19 March) on an employment appeal tribunal
decision which means staff may be able to claim holiday pay during a period of
long-term sickness.

This suggests employees could claim holiday pay even when absent due to
sickness throughout the year in question – or 10 years for that matter.

But Guru was appalled to learn people are now bidding for paid leave while
in jail.

One employer reported a request for holiday pay from a worker serving a
prison sentence. Guru immediately notified the relevant authorities.

Where exactly was he intending to go – Brazil?

Blood on the formica – a lesson in life

Ronald McDonald would have been
shocked by the antics of a manager at one of the burger restaurants last week
after pranksters let a rat loose in the premises.

Customers jumped on chairs and screamed as staff chased the
rodent around the restaurant in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. The manager finally
cornered the rat and battered it to death with a broom.

A grandmother who was in McDonald’s at the time with her
three-year-old granddaughter quite reasonably remarked: "The last thing I
wanted my granddaughter to see was an animal being clubbed to death."

A spokesman for the company spoke up for the manager, however,
saying he had acted quickly and effectively.

Guru is just glad the incident did not happen at his local
kebab shop, where staff are always on the look out for economic ways to spice
up the takeaway menu.

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