Alcohol will fuel UK productivity

Last week, it emerged that ‘a premium beverage offering can play a pivotal role in encouraging staff to stay on the premises’. This groundbreaking research was carried out by Nescafe, and frankly, Guru was a little cynical about the purity of their motives.

One would think that others wouldn’t be quite so shameless, but then the Eurest Lunchtime Report 2004 landed with an overweight thud on the desk.

It ‘reveals’ that almost a quarter of staff use the vending facilities in their workplace as an excuse to take ‘a much needed break from work’. Apparently, it’s a key tool in cutting workplace stress.

Now, in light of the Nescafe ‘research’, you might be pleasantly unsurprised to learn that Eurest is ‘the leader in the refreshment vending services sector’.

In other beverage news, Guru hears that Shepherd Neame, the UK’s oldest brewer, has decided to open ‘Wi-Fi Hotspots’ – which allow people to access the internet on their laptops without wires – in 15 of its pubs in Kent.

Enterprising staff will no doubt utilise this opportunity to combine “working from home” with bouts of “recreational” drinking.

At last! A surefire way to boost productivity. The sooner all pubs adopt this approach, the better.

Anyone wanting to contact Guru from now on should make sure it is not Happy Hour.

Limp-wristed Brits all need firming up

It seems that the great British handshake is in need of a dose of wrist-viagra as yet more dubious research is bandied about.

Marketing recruitment agency Marketing Professionals ‘monitored 200 handshakes’, and found one in five men were limp-wristed, while almost half of women (46 per cent) fell into this ‘wet fish’ category.

At the other end of the scale, almost a quarter of men (23 per cent) had a bone-crushing grasp, while 6 per cent of women squeeze people’s mitts in a vice-like grip.

As with all this kind of in-depth analysis, there is a very important point. Apparently, giving your interviewer a wet-lettuce handshake is the easiest way not to get through the interview process.

Energetic Austrians hot-foot it to ward

Guru thought he had already seen the depths of idiocy to which management training can sink. But  you should never underestimate the human capacity for folly.

Seven people were rushed to hospital with severe burns to their feet in Rohrbach, Austria, after a self-help seminar called for them to mobilise their energy reserves by walking over hot coals.

The course motto was: “If you can walk over hot coals, you can do anything”. It was clearly incomplete, as the phrase ‘following a short period in hospital’ was missing from the end.

The plucky delegates walking across the 32-foot-long strip of glowing coals were soon in considerable pain. Guru supposes they should just count their lucky stars that none of them were called to sit in ‘the hot seat’.

Why do some organisations think that team-building must involve discomfort and wet – or burnt – feet? Guru asked a leading training expert for his theory.

According to our man on the coalface, workplaces today are relatively safe as houses, and the vast majority of Britons lead lives where practically all danger has been removed. That is why many of us crave a risky outdoor experience – as long as it’s legal. And there are legions of ex-military types who want to earn a living by putting their experiences to commercial use.

Put the two together, and what do you get? Why, building a raft with a plank of four-by-two timber, 10 empty beer cans and a skipping rope, and then crossing a stickleback-infested Essex pond with a discarded plastic box as a paddle. Or riding a motorbike backwards while blindfolded and whistling Bohemian Rhapsody.

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