I enjoyed reading about these “Rules for Office Staff” posted in a bank in 1854:
- Godliness, cleanliness and punctuality are the necessities of a good business.
- The firm has reduced the working day to the hours from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Daily prayers will be held each morning in the main office. The clerical staff will be present.
- Clothing will be of a sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in a raiment of bright color.
- A stove is provided for the benefit of the clerical staff. It is recommended that each member of the clerical staff bring 4 lbs. of coal each morning during cold weather.
- No member of the clerical staff may leave the room without permission from Mr. Roberts. The calls of nature are permitted and clerical staff may use the garden beyond the second gate. This area must be kept clean and in good order.
- No talking is allowed during business hours.
- The craving of tobacco, wines or spirits is a human weakness, and as such is forbidden to the clerical staff.
- Members of the clerical staff will provide their own pens.
- The managers of the firm will expect a great rise in the output of work to compensate for these near Utopian conditions.
And you thought your workplace was bad!