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The HR folks at BHP may be onto something

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HC Online | 09 Jul 2012, 12:00 AM Agree 0
BHP has received a rough-trot in the media for its restrictive ‘clean-desk policy’ – but a close examination of its guidelines reveal they may be on to a good thing with happy workers to boot.
  • Filip | 09 Jul 2012, 04:46 PM Agree 0
    I don't think many HR professionals would agree such restrictive practices are appropriate in a contemporary workplace. Recognition of individual difference, making the workplace an attractive and welcoming environment rarely involves archaic rules. Eating at desks is just one part of a whole gamut of rules which reflect an autocratic culture and one which cannot survive in the long term as individuals seek a healthy work life balance,
  • Sharon Hudson | 09 Jul 2012, 06:09 PM Agree 0
    I like it. As long as absences from the desk are not made an issue I think good practices and outcomes will result for both employee and e'er.
  • Annemarie | 09 Jul 2012, 06:46 PM Agree 0
    I wonder if anyone considered the impact on their external employment branding? Whilst these guidelines may work for some, there will be many others (myself included) who will be impacted to the point where they will not want to work there...and keep their god forbid 2 photos of their family on their desk.
  • Ann | 10 Jul 2012, 07:49 AM Agree 0
    soudns like a 5S protocol rather than a 'happy workplace'. Whislt eatng away from desk is ideal, work loads and other commitments may not make it feasible. So i think i wont work for BHP who wont allow a picture drawn by my children on my wall, me to eat my breakfast at my desk becasue because i ahve an OS webex call, or allow my creative collegue have a number of non offensive toys on his desk which whislt unusual actually help him in his thought processes. Yes BHP the big Australian also now Big Brother.
  • Janice | 10 Jul 2012, 12:03 PM Agree 0
    From an HR perspective it would be interesting to see if not eating at your workspace and thus eliminating tons of bacteria actually cuts down on the number of illnesses experienced by the employees and thus cutting down on the use of sick time? Tell me honestly, how many of you/us who eat at our desks, actually take the time to get up, go the washroom and wash our hands right after we eat.....or even use a napkin!
  • Emily | 10 Jul 2012, 02:23 PM Agree 0
    I have seen this working in other buildings as part of the environmental 6 star requirements and it is fantastic. The staff seem so much happier as they are up from their desk and engaging with other employees more who they normally may not have. Good work BHP
  • Sebastian Harvey | 11 Jul 2012, 10:04 PM Agree 0
    There are a lot of 'archaic rules' that make a lot of sense and are there to serve two purposes: improve productivity and help employees form good working habits (ie. save ourselves from ourselves). How different is banning eating at your desk from forcing people to take leave in reasonable doses and not to bank it? Or to tell people they can't make innappropriate racial or sexual comments in the workplace (even if they are free to do so in public). And who's to say these rules have not been developed through consultation with staff and after informing them about research on healthy work habits? It is also worth remembering that the organisation in the article (BHP Billiton) set rules to be consistent across a wide range of workplaces. It is why you will not find alcohol at any of their mine sites - or in their Board room!
  • Filip | 12 Jul 2012, 02:48 PM Agree 0
    Interesting responses but I can confirm the rules are not consistent between operations and the offices. True re the alcohol but not true re consultation. We are talking about a whole gamut of rules, not just eating at desks. Eating at desks and taking a break are good things, disabling steam mechanisms n coffee machines so you dont get burnt, being unable to put your jacket over a chair while you work, the difference between chocolate and lollies...The law prevent inappropriate sexual or racist comments in the workplace and tightly so, the taking of leave can only be forced to a point. The issue is about individual difference and recognition if this in a workplace. There is a skills shortage in the resource sector and while any large, or in this case extremely large company needs rules there is the potential to turn off intelligent, responsible adults who spend large amounts of time in the workplace.
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