And you thought you had it bad

I found this reprint in a book from 1975. Purportedly, this item was found in a demolished building in England. At the time, office workers were male and often times young men and boys filled some positions. With rules like these, the demands of modern business seem trivial. If you have ever felt like “the man” is holding you down, just be glad you aren’t in mid 19th century England!

Office Rules & Regulations – 1852 – Business name unknown

1. Godliness, Cleanliness and Punctuality are necessities of a good business.

2. This firm has reduced the hours of work, and the Clerical Staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on week-days.

3. Daily prayers will be held each morning in the Main Office. The Clerical Staff will be present.

4. Clothing must be of a sober nature. The Clerical Staff will not disport themselves in raiment of bright colours, nor will they wear hose unless in good repair.

5. Overshoes and top-coats may not be worn in the office, but neck scarves and headwear may be worn in inclement weather.

6. 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 4 pounds of coal each day, during cold weather.

7. No member of the Clerical Staff may leave the room without permission from Mr. Rogers. The calls of nature are permitted, and Clerical Staff may use the garden below the second gate. This area must be kept in good order.

8. No talking is allowed during business hours.

9. The craving of tobacco, wines and spirits is a human weakness and, as such, is forbidden to all members of the Clerical Staff.

10. Now that the hours of business have been drastically reduced the partaking of food is allowed between 11:30 a.m. and noon, but work will not, on any account, cease.

11. Members of the Clerical Staff will provide their own pens. A new sharpener is available, on application, to Mr. Rogers.

12. Mr. Rogers will nominate a senior Clerk to be responsible for the cleanliness of the Main Office and the Private Office, and 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.

13. The New Increased Weekly Wages are as hereunder detailed:

Junior Boys (to 11 years) 1s. 4d.

Boys (to 14 years) 2s. 1d.

Junior Clerks 8s. 7d.

Senior Clerks (after 15 years with the owners) 21s. 0d.

The owners recognize the generosity of the new Labour Laws but expect a great rise in output of work to compensate for these near Utopian conditions.


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