MINING giant BHP Billiton has laid down the law on office etiquette to thousands of its staff across Australia, issuing a draconian policy that bans workers from eating food with strong odours, placing jackets on their chairs and even sticking post-it notes on their monitors or keyboards.
The Australian has obtained a copy of BHP’s “Office Environment Standard” issued to employees in Brisbane this month. It sets out behaviour that the company says will be “enforced” by senior executives on each floor of the company’s new offices in the city.
The harsh tone of the policy, which is being enforced in offices in other cities, has upset some BHP employees.
Workers are told in the memo that cleaners will inspect their desks each night and throw away anything apart from a monitor, docking station, keyboard, mouse, phone and “one framed picture”.
Clothes are not allowed to be placed on chairs or at desks, but must be put in “designated storage areas”.
“Other than workstation identification and first-aid or fire warden signage, nothing is to be placed on workstation dividers, walls or doors at any time.
“Small bags may be stored under work stations during the day or stored in cupboards.
“Food must NOT be eaten at your work station.”
Employees are also told that mobile phone ring tones should be kept at a low volume.
Workers are also ordered to watch the tone and volume of their voices and the language they use in the office.
Ipods and MP3 players are not to be brought into work.
In the company’s clubrooms, which are designed for employees to relax and eat lunch, workers are banned from eating food “that emits strong odours”.
Microwaves, toasters and sandwich presses are unavailable in clubrooms, while fridges are not to be used for any purpose other than storage of daily lunch.
And for those using meeting rooms, the rules remain strict.
Food cannot be eaten and the rooms are not to be used as offices for individual working.
When a meeting is finished, the room must be returned to its “original setting”, meaning whiteboards are to be cleaned, equipment turned off, cables put away, chairs pushed in and cups and bottles thrown away.
The policy was issued to employees of the BHP Billiton/Mitsubishi Alliance at Brisbane’s Riparian Plaza and 12 Creek Street buildings.
The offices house the miner’s expanding Queensland coal operations.
In April, BHP leased more than 600sq m at 12 Creek Street. The company also has more than 7300sq m of office space in Riparian Plaza.
A spokeswoman for BHP said yesterday the policy was being implemented across all head offices in Australia.
She said the “clean desk practice” was all about encouraging security of information and creating flexibility in the use of work stations, including for employees who regularly travel between BHP offices
Source: The Australian Newspaper