Employer of Choice?

HC Online magazine recently published the following list of regulations which were developed for a group of employees working in a London in the mid 19th Century. The original document, detailing the “statement to employees” was date-stamped 1852 and it was found in the ruins of the London office building.
When you feel inclined to lament your current working environment and conditions, share a thought for those who came before us. By comparison, most of us (in the western world anyway) have got it pretty good!
  1. This firm has reduced the hours of work, and the clerical staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 6am and 7pm weekdays.
  2. Clothing must be of sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in raiment of bright colours, nor will they wear hose unless in good repair.
  3. Overshoes and topcoats may not be worn in the office, but neck scarves and headwear may be worn in inclement weather.
  4. A stove is provided for the benefit of the clerical staff. Coal and wood must be kept in the locker. It is recommended that each member of the clerical staff bring four pounds of coal each day during the cold weather.
  5. No member of the clerical staff may leave the room without permission from the supervisor.
  6. No talking is allowed during business hours.
  7. The craving for tobacco, wine, or spirits is a human weakness, and as such is forbidden to all members of the clerical staff.
  8. Now that the hours of business have been drastically reduced, the partaking of food is allowed between 11:30 and noon, but work will not on any account cease!!
  9. Members of the clerical staff will provide their own pens. A new sharpener is available on application to the supervisor.
  10. The supervisor will nominate a senior clerk to be responsible for the cleanliness of the main office and the supervisor’s private office. All boys and juniors will report to him 40 minutes before prayers and will remain after closing hours for similar work. Brushes, brooms, scrubbers, and soap are provided by the owners.
  11. The owners recognise the generosity of the new labour laws, but will expect a great rise in output of work to compensate for these near Utopian conditions.

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