Christmas turkey

Saint Homobonus
9 December 2014

Saint HomobonusThe competition for the ‘best-attended business conference’ has had a late wild-card entrant.

While some organisations have strategised for months, calculating the best time to run their event to ensure maximum attendance and minimum clash, the third International Conference on Production and Supply Chain Management 2014 in Greece has spotted a gap in the calendar that everyone else has missed. It is going to run it on Christmas Day. No word of a lie, the conference begins with registration at 7.45am on 25 December (just time to open those presents before breakfast), with a programme running into Boxing Day.

The highlight is sure to be the ‘inventory and warehouse management’ seminar as the Queen makes her annual speech on TV. A quick check reveals no keynote speakers as yet, but hey, it’s still early. And, who knows, two days of procurement and supply chain insight might be preferable to the traditional family get-together?

Silent nights
Is your company having a Christmas party this year? If so, have you considered the potential risks? Mike Bell, CEO at Driven A to B, says: “UK law states that the office Christmas party is an extension of the normal working environment. As such, employers are liable for the safety of their employees.” Not surprisingly perhaps, for the head of a car company, he says businesses should consider providing transport home to ensure staff get back safely. “It can avoid bar bills being run up into the night, help people get into the office on time the next day and avoid situations that may lead to office tension.”

The only way is ethics
Unethical behaviour is widespread, with the UK workforce cutting corners, lying to hide mistakes and bad-mouthing colleagues. A survey of more than 1,600 bosses by the Institute of Leadership & Management found 67 per cent reported staff passing the buck about unfinished work, 64 per cent had seen people slack off when they thought no one was watching and 57 per cent had witnessed colleagues take credit for other people’s work. The findings of The truth about trust found organisations with a clear set of values were up to 11 per cent less likely to experience unethical behaviour. That’s why I’ve pinned up a poster that says: ‘Work hard and be nice’ in my office.

Leave it out
Bosses may believe some UK staff are shirkers, but another study claims Britain is a nation of workaholics. More than one million people fail to use all their annual leave each year – effectively throwing away 6.5 million days of holiday, says TravelSupermarket.com, which quizzed 2,405 adults. You might think this is good news, with businesses standing to gain an extra £676 million of ‘free’ work from employees but experts say not taking time off to rest means staff are less productive.

Nuclear reactions
According to Kieran Hearty, your reaction to things like typos can make or break a business. The author of How to eat the elephant in the room says many companies depend on the motivation and commitment of their employees. Hearty, who worked at Intel Corporation for many years, says ‘defect intolerance’ works well in manufacturing – or when it’s applied to ‘things’ – but not so effectively when it’s applied to people. His advice? Don’t blow your top when you spt a mstake.

Work stinks
Look around your office…does it have plants, drinking water and a fresh scent? If you want to keep staff happy, healthy and perform well, these are things you need to supply. “Unpleasant smells demotivate staff,” according to a report by PHS Group. Furthermore, 48 per cent of people quizzed said they were unhappy with the standards of hygiene at work, with 88 per cent saying it affects their productivity. Workplace cleanliness is “essential for staff morale, productivity and reducing staff illness,” it concluded.

Who poached my eggs?
Police in Bangladesh have been scrambled following a spate of hijackings of trucks carrying eggs. According to the country’s Financial Express newspaper, over the past year 40 trucks, each carrying up to 150,000 eggs, have been hijacked, threatening to “decimate the egg supply chain”. “Workers and drivers remain panicky,” one trader is quoted as saying. “They are losing interest in getting involved in egg transportation.” Let’s hope detectives crack the case.

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