Oz bureaucrats clearly out to lunch

Australian civil servants have been warned they could face disciplinary action if they hold lunch meetings between noon and 2pm. An education department circular says lunch meetings are permissible, just not at lunchtime.

This shocked Guru, as he thought Australians chose not to work at all, as a general rule. They have a Labour Day for that kind of thing don’t they?

More managers are lurking in the bush

This week, Guru feels a little like Sir David Attenborough – reporting on strange new creatures that have lurked in our communities since time immemorial, but yet have managed to remain unrecog-nised. Until now, that is. They are, of course, your managers.

Since Personnel Today invited readers to submit their alternative management styles, there has been an amazing array of new pond life exposed to the media glare.

Is there anyone you recognise in these submissions?

– The Mushroom Manager – keeps everyone in the dark and covers all regularly with compost (compost being of course a well-known gardening euphemism)

– The Grasshopper – bit of an airhead, hops around the office, flitting from one issue/person to the next, chirruping loudly. Personal view of Usefulness relates to how many flits and chirrups achieved daily.

– The Stomper – strides exaggeratedly around office, heels making a very loud noise, and verbally expounding on how rushed off their feet they are. Of course, the poor dears should sit down more and take it easy, they’d get more done.

If you want to get on, get a groucho

Both public and private sectors are forever trying to improve their public images. The dilemma is just which avenue to take. An office refurb? Some well publicised acts of philanthropy, perhaps? All very expensive, leaving the HR director glowing and the finance director sweating.

Guru decided to give this matter some serious thought and found the answer almost immediately, right there under his nose. The moustache.

India’s police force certainly believes this is one idea that is not to be sniffed at. It aims to improve its image by paying officers to grow facial ornaments, as it believes this will give them better social standing and will make them look smarter, among other things.

Moustache bonuses of 40p a month were introduced after a survey found furry-faced officers were taken more seriously. Apparently, it’s a traditional sign of virility and authority, so they’re not just paying top lip service to it.

Could this catch on in the UK? Apart from a short burst of popularity in the 1960s and ’70s (Che Guevara, the Beatles, Charles Bronson), people with moustaches have quite rightly been viewed with a certain amount of suspicion (Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, the Pringles twit). To sport one convincingly, you had to be in the adult film industry or a hard-nosed TV detective.

But, have you noticed that given the chance, all men will happily don a fake moustache and a large-collared shirt and dance to disco classics? Why? It is impossible to have a bad time while wearing a tache.

So, get your manager to grow a moustache. This way he will never have a bad day in the office. The positivity this should generate will leave everyone revitalised and ready to be more productive than ever.

However, clearly men have the upper lip on this one, and equality could be compromised. But there is a long (haired) tradition of women with tonsorial top lips and they do tend to be successful – think Queen Victoria, the bearded lady, er… agony aunt Clare Raynor, ‘artist’ Tracy Emin and, of course, Queen Elizabeth.

Union request adds another dimension

When an exasperated HR officer wrote to these pages to ask what to do about workers demanding extra pay for the leap year, expert advice was swift – although had the recommendations been followed to the letter, they could also have been fatal.

It seemed that milking work hours could not get any worse. But not so. It appears one union is trying to mess with the space/time continuum.

Poor Colin, a personnel officer from Wales, has to try to find a polite way to tell a union that ‘No, workers will not be getting an extra hour’s pay when the clocks go back’. Strangely enough, the union did not offer to relinquish any forthcoming cash when the clocks go forward again.

If you also have this problem, maybe you should count your-self lucky. Some unions try to put the clock back 20 years, not just one hour.

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