The World’s Most Average Workplaces 2014

surveysA new survey report published this week by ‘The Institute of Activities’ has revealed that the worlds 25 most average workplaces have much in common.

The report states that the highest ranked workplaces are visually characterized by a number of recognizable features; their low rent densely packed open plan bench desking, white walls, mineral fibre ceiling tiles, grey floorcoverings, and seating in the corporate colours of the company logo.

To qualify for top 25 ranking in the prestigious ‘average’ section of the institutes annual survey, employees in the businesses surveyed should physically work very closely together; sit in near silence, and in an atmosphere of fear mingled with humility and hope. “Much like the passengers of a jet landing in a storm at night” as the CEO of one surveyed firm put it.

Also, organizations in the survey were singled out for their offices limited daylight or aspect to the outside world, although fluorescent strip lighting was noted as plentiful in each workplace. Most of which worked intermittently in a range of whites from blue to the red end of the spectrum. On a related point, 50% or greater of employees in the organizations surveyed had to complain of stress, headaches and respiratory conditions in order to make it into the top 25.

Professor Guff-Smith who supervised the survey and report has said “In order to achieve top 5 ranking this year, the organizations listed have demonstrated an impressive array of inconsistent short term draconian policies that support a total disregard for individual autonomy or self expression by employees, including a complete ban on social media, and for instance, limited timed access to what surveyed executives referred to as the ‘Electric Interweb Machine’.”

Jacque Le Mac, CEO of Misinformation Inc. ranked 1st in this years survey has said “We recognize that it’s not enough to give everyone a one metre wide strip of work surface; Its imperative not only to restrict legroom but also communication with colleagues and the outside world as much as possible. We must maintain the delicate balance between investment in the workplace, our people and profitability, whilst maintaining large annual dividends. Therefore we find it eminently sensible and easier to encourage our people to remain at their desk all day and every day.”

“We used to let our employees walk around the office freely and meet with colleagues face to face, but we had too many health and safety incidents. Folks were walking into each other or worse, walking into the walls, and causing a facilities management nightmare.” Le Mac also said “We even piloted that home working thing for a while, but nobody seemed to come back to the office after they started daily reruns of The Rockford Files on BBC2. We thought a form of ‘Hot Desking’ or booking free space would work too, but soon discovered the unpaid interns were in league with the mail room boys and were selling the unoccupied desks to any takers off the back of the goods-in bay.”

Mr Le Mac continued “Forgive me, I digress, there are activity based working (ABW) policies we do encourage at Misinformation Inc. and that’s to take advantage of the twice daily permitted toilet breaks, and at lunchtime we recommend the excellent burger van facility only 17 minutes brisk walk from the executive car park. Equally by locating our offices in a business park setting at least 30 minutes walk from the nearest transport links, cafes and retail outlets we actively encourage our employees to remain fit and healthy, if not a little tired from time to time, but our people value the sense of teamwork, security and belonging that comes with a highly structured and disciplined environment.” Mr Le Mac added, “With the improvements in speed and efficiency of our internal network, nobody ever has to leave their desk to attend a meeting, or chat with colleagues in person, never mind leave the office. He concluded, “It’s very efficient you know!”

28-year-old Wilma Jones, Misinformation Inc.’s longest serving employee was quoted as saying in the comments section of her 10-page ‘Most Average Workplaces’ survey questionnaire;

I have been asked to say, I have had 12 long happy weeks at Misinformation Inc. I never thought that after qualifying with a degree in Economics and an MBA in Business Analytics that I would be where I am now. I had been job-hunting for 6 years following my graduation, and in this very challenging post recession economy it was more than a little character building, I can tell you. I have however, now found my perfect job in my perfect workplace. Life has never been better for my colleagues or me, and we are so grateful to work in such a sinister well-managed environment in an atmosphere of complete trust and openness. We all work in the open and as our manager can see us all the time, he really trusts us.”

Professor Guff-Smiths’ next project at ‘The Institute of Activities’ will be to examine the business psychology behind balancing false-economics and ecological imperatives in the retail sector. He will conduct the first detailed study into the combined number of supermarket carrier bags actually needed to perform the intended function of one. His white paper will be entitled  ‘Do you want me to double those up’.

Post gratefully inspired by the good folks at @InsightOnWork who posted a great little commentary article linking to the strange and apocryphal source publication The Worlds Best Multinational Workplaces.

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