tea ladyFollowing on from The Gorv’s comment yesterday about employers actually finding out and listening to what employees want I saw an article on the BBC News this morning featuring the return of the classic British tea trolley! Apparently a survey of 1000 office workers showed that a return of the tea trolley to the working environment would be very welcome as it signals the fact that it’s break time and everybody needs a break.

The worries of the modern office worker are many and as such regular breaks should be encouraged but the opposite has in fact happened with people chained to their desks and feeling guilty if they are caught on a break. Back in the days of the unions break time was set in stone with workers knocking off for a cuppa at 11am and 3:30pm but now people barely manage to get away from their desk for lunch let alone a break.

So how do we break the shackles?

Here at Marton House we make a big thing about going somewhere away from the office for lunch.  The more people the merrier. There is no set times for lunch but it’s generally acknowledged lunchtime is one hour sometime between 12 and 2pm and an arrangement is made about 30 minutes before we go out.  At breaks I make a conscious effort to go round and visit people just for a chat, even if it’s just to see what they are working on.
Your manager is there for your benefit as well as that of the company and as such should be ensuring staff are getting the breaks away from the work that they need. After all a break benefits both the employee and the company as after the break the worker will be more productive (hopefully).

The vision of the 21st century tea lady is that of a manager pushing the tea trolley.

Actually we should have seen the return of the tea trolley coming as when we were filming last year in a the HQ of a large Irish bank we were pleasantly surprised to be interrupted mid-rehearsal by the arrival of the “scone” lady.  As she went around the building whole floors would come to a stop to get a cup of tea and a scone.  We were amazed and the people we were working with there were amazed that we should be amazed – “Everyone stops for a scone!”, they proclaimed.

You can read the BBC article here.