The Globe And Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper, today unveiled quite the face lift, not to mention a bit of lipo. Aside from a total redesign, the paper also slimmed down a little bit. It’s very Guardian-esque, and perhaps a bit sexy. (Yes, I can find newspapers sexy.) The paper also launched a new section, Globe Life. And in that section is a new weekly workplace culture column by, well, me. It’s called The Office and I will also be writing a related blog for the new website. My first column is below and online here. The blog is here. RSS feed here.
WORK: THE OFFICE: A WEEKLY LOOK AT WORK CULTURE
Haunted by the ring tone from hell
the Blackberry service went dead last week, many people felt helpless
and disconnected. Patrick Tuite likely wished the outage had extended
to cellphones in general.
A lawyer representing John Boultbee,
who is being tried along with Conrad Black in Chicago, Mr. Tuite was at
the mercy of the court last Tuesday when a cellphone in his possession
kept ringing with the theme from The Exorcist. The judge confiscated the phone and put it in her office, where one assumes it continued ringing and speaking in tongues.
Mr. Tuite can take comfort in a 2007 survey of British cellphone
users by phone retailer Dial-a-Phone: 44 per cent of them admitted to
committing a "ring-tone faux pas."
And in a 2006 poll of U.S. workers by staffing company Randstad USA,
30 per cent listed shrill, ringing cellphones as their biggest office
While movie theatres, schools and other public places make a point
of telling people to turn off their phones, the office remains the
haunt of flagrant phone ruffians.
People take calls or answer e-mail during meetings. Some cannot bear to remove their Bluetooth headpiece for even a
second; others talk at a perfectly normal level on an office phone only
to bellow on their cell as if trapped at the bottom of a well. Not surprisingly, all seem partial to ridiculous, loud ring tones.
"My ring tone is the quietest one possible," says Adeodata Czink, a
Toronto etiquette coach and president of Business of Manners. "The Exorcist was funny but not appropriate."
Ms. Czink says phones should be turned off in all meetings unless
you’re expecting an urgent call, and the choice of a ring tone is just
as important as the volume. Keep it low and unobtrusive, she says. Try the vibrate setting.
Remember that a ring tone says something about you, and that something is often mouthed from behind your back.
Now that’s something to be scared of.
ADVICE OF THE WEEK
Clearing the air
“I know this may sound silly, but I get very distracted by noise,
and I often hear a lot of belching from your cubicle. If you’re able to
do that more quietly, I would really appreciate it.” – A workplace
expert’s suggested phrasing for approaching a co-worker who burps
constantly. If that failed, moving to another cubicle was suggested.
Crumbling Rolaids into his coffee was not. (Hartford Courant)
April showers bring office slackers The
rainy, slushy April weather that hit Eastern Canada last week probably
also took a toll on workplace productivity. A survey of 6,000 workers
by CareerBuilder.com found that 21 per cent admit to being less
productive when it’s raining outside and 9 per cent when it’s snowing.
ART MEETS OFFICE
The creepy old guy “I think every office has some guy like Creed in it,” Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight Schrute on
told New York magazine when asked if the show’s characters mimic real
life. “You know the character Creed? He’s the old guy – there’s always
some creepy old guy sitting in a corner, and nobody knows how long he’s
worked there or what exactly he does. Everyone has worked with a Creed.”
BY THE NUMBERS
291 Average amount of square feet of an executive office in 1987. Today, the average executive office is 241.
98 Average square feet of a “senior professional’s” office. The average call-centre employee’s? Only 50.
International Facility Management Association
Craig Silverman is a Montreal-based writer and the editor of
RegretTheError.com. His first non-fiction book will be published by
Penguin Canada in the fall.