Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Managing... By Trevor Mitten

The memo sat on My desktop, my computer desktop that is. That was the problem really, no one came by my desk with a paper copy and some conversation. It was the intranet email, that swallowed time in my office. The latest email was a grandiosely entitled ‘WORK YOURSELF FITTER!!!!!!!’

Now see that sets me off straight away, the unnecessary use of capitals and surely any more than one exclamation mark was superfluous? I marked it as lowest priority but didn’t delete it, just in case someone hassled me about it. It was some anodyne ‘news’ from HR about subsidised hot yoga classes.

Sometimes I despaired. The business didn’t see that the more e-mails they had to read, the less work got done. One e-mail sent to all 134 lowly staff, including me, meant at least 268 minutes of lost time. These memos stopped my team reaching our strict targets. Half of every day was spent reading inane emails from senior management trying to force ‘greater productivity’, something had to be done.

A casual comment from Tom, the IT support tech, supplied the spark. He had come to upgrade my keyboard to the latest one, as decreed from on high. It did nothing my old one didn’t do, and I would have to get used to the new spaces between the keys. I grumbled at Tom who listened closely.

“I know” he said “I keep saying they should have a backup to their e-mail server but do they listen? Oh no! They spend money on unnecessary keyboards.”

“So what does that mean? “

“Well if the server broke down we couldn’t be able to send any e-mails throughout the whole building.”

An idea flashed, I asked casually: “Is it that box with lots of flashing lights and cables in the staff room?”

“Yeah that’s it. I told them to put it in the basement but did they listen did they heck, just because I haven’t got ‘Director’ of something as a job title, I get totally ignored!.”

I changed the subject by asking him about his long term girlfriend, and it was ten minutes before he left. A week later my team were happily chatting to each other between sales calls. Everyone seemed happier and had more time for each other. The teams’ targets were exceeded and I got a phone call from the deputy director praising our departments sales.

“How did you manage it”. He asked.

“Maximising team effort Sir” I replied

My lips were sealed as to the real reason. There had been an ‘water ingress’ to the e-mail server in the staff room after hours when the building was empty. I looked over to the staff room and saw several ceiling panels were removed to unsuccessfully find the leak. A new server was on order but would take several weeks to commission.

Good, though rather than a full glass of water down the cooling vent, perhaps a small fire next time was the way to go.


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