please empty your brain below

Going back a few years (OK, a decade then), when I worked in a shop in Slough we had a lady come in each morning and clean the shop for us.

She was almost a stereotypical tea-lady you see in old films about working in offices. She was a part of the team though and although only paid till 10am rarely left before midday as she bustled around making coffee and helping out with little tasks.

Alas, HQ decided that we really didn't need a cleaner and told us to retire her.

As is usual with the HQ edicts, they only saw her as a cleaner and a cost to be eliminated - they never appreciated the huge help she was in the non-cleaning tasks which she so readily performed.

They also seemed to think that a shop can function with a compliment of badly trained sales staff and no one to deal with the mountain of paperwork the store produced each day.

HQ's never seem to understand the realities of the shop-floor working environment.

Which is a real pity.

Another great post DG!

Reminds me of a book I recently read called "The Silver River" by Ben Richards about a journalist and a cleaner.

I remember once being delayed at an airport a few years ago. During the 18 hrs, you really do see what and who; it takes to run an organization. Since that time I haver always taken abit more time over the unseen staff.

Have you seen Ken Loach's Bread & Roses?

Back in my last job the cleaners always managed to leave one of the little plastic legs of my keyboard folded back down (I like them extended) and I suspected a deliberate effort was made to do this, a kind of "yes I did clean your desk" statement. However when I was there for the great event I discovered that this feat was actually performed with one deft flick of a feather duster and apparently was totally unintentional (either that or it was very practiced).

Now I work from home, my keyboard's legs remain extended, but I kind of miss having to fix it every morning. Of course my desk is a complete mess as well.

I have to agree with IanVisits: many cleaners are friendly and often like to chat with anyone they bump into. It's good to have someone there to talk to if you're working late and alone. Of course, it's also nice to have one's desk cleaned in the evening, so you can be a little bit more organised in the morning.

When you think about it though, it is strange that you have low-paid cleaners working in the same offices as people who are far more highly paid.

I go back to the days when the cleaners were employed by the same organisation that employed me. Some of the time I even had an office all to myself.
Getting to know the cleaners was always worth doing. They lived locally and knew all the gossip. If you helped them by being reasonably tidy they would do that little bit of extra cleaning in your room. And if you sympathised with them about that untidy individual down the cooridor then you were their friend for life.

Our cleaners arrive before we leave - we always talk and thank them for emptying our bins and apologise if we're running a bit late and so they can't wipe our desk down.

In the last place I worked the cleaner (a one-armed man) used to make me tea and sympathise that I had so much work to do that I had to stay after everyone else. I always had the cleanest office though, as he always cleaned and talked. And he liked talking.

By day he held the key to the stationery cupboard, and dished out our requisitions. So, 11 years on, I'm still working through his 'gifts' to me

Brings a whole new meaning to 'something for the weekend'!

I'm not so sure about the minimum wage. Freinds I now who work as cleaners claim to be getting a lot more - getting on for double the hourly rate.

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