Lack of moth action cuts absence rates

The e-mails in Guru’s inbox usually only require a cursory glance. Guru suffers just like everyone else from spam and junk mail from companies offering free Viagra (as if Guru needs any assistance with that). But one e-mail last week made Guru stand bolt upright and take notice.

The subject line matter-of-factly said: ‘Moths’ sex life affects council absentee rates’. Being inquisitive by nature, Guru needed to find out more.

Apparently, the sex life of the Brown Tail Tussock Moth has taken a turn for the worse since staff at Crawley Borough Council set new traps. And preventing the moths getting ‘jiggy’ has also had the added bonus of improving the council’s sickness absence rates. As a spokeswoman explained: “The moth’s caterpillar can be a real problem. The little bug is covered with hollow hairs containing toxic chemicals that produce swelling, itching and a nasty rash. It’s a particular problem for eczema and asthma sufferers, as well as council staff.”

The council’s new pheromone traps act like mobile pubs. The male moths go in and eat a special chemical, which confuses them. They then forget to mate – with the result being no pesky caterpillars.

As a wildlife enthusiast, Guru is familiar with the parkland, wooded areas and car parks of the Crawley vicinity. After one particular late night adventure, Guru also broke out in a nasty rash, which led to a great deal of confusion.

Guru now realises this must have been caused by accidentally stumbling upon one of the council’s new traps intended for the moths. At least that’s what Mrs Guru has been told…

Despairing disciples share tales of woe

Employees, eh? Don’t you just love ’em? Can’t work with them, can’t shoot them.

Thanks to disciples Karen and Lucy for this week’s tales of HR woe, which show that, while some employees haven’t quite grasped the concept of staff benefits, creativity is alive and well (when it comes to excuses, anyway):

Dear Guru,

I thought you might be amused to hear a question I was asked about the free life assurance that we provide to our employees.

It is explained in our handbook as a ‘death-in-service’ benefit, and I was asked by a member of staff what would happen if they died while on holiday, or on a day off? If they weren’t at work ‘in service’ at the time, would their relatives still get the money?

Perhaps this explains the UK’s long-hours culture – people are afraid to go home in case they die on the way and don’t qualify for the cash.

On to disciple Lucy’s story, which sounds like a case for Mulder and Scully:

Our receptionist had been caught napping on reception more than once and snoozing through phonecalls. In the disciplinary meeting with her manager and myself, she claimed she could not have been asleep, as she would have known about it.

She then claimed that she didn’t remember being asleep, so it could only have been an outer body experience. As well as this, she claimed I could not have witnessed her being asleep, as she saw my ‘very distinctive legs’ walking through reception.

Suffice to say, this ended in a warning, wondering about the paranormal…and mild paranoia about my legs.

Rude awakening for sleeping technician

Which brings us nicely on to another sleep-related incident, that just goes to show there is no place to hide for slackers in this Big Brother world.

US cable operator Comcast last week revealed that it fired an employee who was caught on camera sleeping on a customer’s settee after the video clip was shared all over the web.

The technician was at customer Brian Finkelstein’s home when he fell asleep after spending an hour on the phone waiting for his own company’s customer service department to answer.

Finkelstein filmed the worker sleeping, edited and set the video to the Eels pop song I Need Some Sleep, and shared the 58-second footage on the internet. Titled A Comcast Technician Sleeping On My Couch, hundreds of thousands of people have visited the site.

Comcast said it had dismissed the employee and apologised to Finkelstein, for the “unsatisfactory customer experience”. “We obviously do not condone what was represented in the video,” the company said.

As a big fan of the ‘power nap’ under the desk, Guru thinks this treatment is a little harsh. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing 40 winks at work – just ask Portuguese pariah Cristiano Ronaldo.

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