The London Office Worker in 1852
Do you ever
feel overworked, over-regulated, under-leisured, and under-benefited? Take
heart; things have improved greatly. This notice was found in the ruins of a
London office building. It was dated 1852:
recognize the generosity of the new labor laws, but will expect a great rise in
output of work to compensate for these near Utopian conditions.
- This firm has reduced the hours of work, and the
clerical staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 6 a.m.
and 7 p.m. weekdays.
- Clothing must be of sober nature. The clerical staff
will not disport themselves in raiment of bright colors, nor will they wear
hose unless in good repair.
- Overshoes and topcoats may not be worn in the office,
but neck scarves and headwear may be worn in inclement weather.
- 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.
- No member of the clerical staff may leave the room
without permission from the supervisor.
- No talking is allowed during business hours.
- The craving for tobacco, wine, or spirits is a human
weakness, and as such is forbidden to all members of the clerical staff.
- 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.
- Members of the clerical staff will provide their own
pens. A new sharpener is available on application to the supervisor.
- 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.