There were unexpected visitors this week, but AJ thinks we got away with it.
Monday: AJ called us together for the morning meeting and said he'd decided over the weekend to implement a "Time saving" policy. He wants everybody to cut out all unecessary processes in our work, to save time, then quantify the time we all save and use that regained time to increase our productivity. We all just smiled and nodded and he went away back to his office happy.
I guess it's just another 'work smarter' idea, that or he's been listening in to other CEO's during the weekend.
Tuesday: LeeAnn came in 7 minutes late - she said the bus was diverted. It appears she had a row with the official boyfriend last night and she's scared he's found out about the unofficial one from the squat. LeeAnn only found out last night the two men have mutual friends, and they've now seen her out with both of them. Donna said you'll have to get rid of one of them, but LeeAnn said that's the trouble - I don't know which one I want to stay with.
Donna came over to me last thing to say there was a document she needed to open up and change, and the computer wouldn't let her. I went over to see and she said it's called WMED.lwp but I can't open it and I can't even see it. I said that's because it's a Lotus document and you can't use Lotus anymore, you haven't got Lotus on your PC, but I still have and I'll find it tomorrow and convert it to Word so you can use it. She said oh thank you, and I said remind me in the morning.
Wednesday: Donna came over first thing to remind me about the Lotus document she needed and so I went through her folder, and then through the whole server looking for it. She was sure she'd gotten the name right, but I still couldn't find it. I asked her when she'd last used it but she couldn't remember, then said oh hold on I remember I didn't put it in my big folder that you told me to put everything in so I don't lose it - I put it on my PC instead. I said OK, we'll have to take it out from where you've put it and put it in your folder on the server so I can pick it up. She said can't you just do it on my PC without moving it? but I said no, because the program is only on my PC and so I have to use mine.
The next thing was finding it on her PC - it wasn't there either. I was beginning to think she'd deleted it when she said oh you know what? it's not on my PC at all, it's on one of those little cartridges you put in the front and save things on. I said OK, just give me the floppy disk and I'll do it for you. She said well it's one of these, and showed me about twenty - all unlabeled. I said you find out which one it is and give it me. She said OK, and sat down to go through them all. I guess it'd be quicker for her to just type the whole thing out again but at least it'll keep her quiet for the rest of the morning.
The big printer wasn't working after the lunchbreak again. Walked over, pulled Mike's mobile charger, threatened him with LeeAnn, and plugged the printer back in.
Donna came over about half three to say she'd found the floppy disk the Lotus document was on, so I said good - give it me and I'll turn it into a Word document for you. She hesitated a moment and then said well, it's a little more difficult than that - it's confidential and you're not supposed to read it. I said that's OK, I won't read it, I'll just convert it. She was reluctant but finally handed it over
It turns out it's extremely confidential after all - it's some typing she did for Carly, her daughter on the Head Office Switchboard. I didn't read it. Honest.
Thursday: The Health and Safety inspectors came today - totally unexpected as they'd been scheduled to come in July or August, possibly September. The first anybody here knew of it was when three guys from Head Office came rushing over at about ten, saying we all only had fifteen minutes before they were due, and we all had to panic. They probably didn't think we all were panicking enough so AJ and Andy did some extra panicking for us, and Amy did some to keep them company. Two of the Head Office guys went around the shop floor with Andy, while one came around the offices with AJ. He put his head around my office door and drew in a deep breath, then when I looked up from my shipping papers, he said you can't stay in here! AJ told me to quickly move all my stuff out and into the main office, and the Head Office guy helped him push all Mike's stuff up into the corner of his desk so I could sit there instead.
The Health and Safety inspectors must have known there was some faking going on, because they recognized the Head Office guy and nodded to him. One looked in my office, and AJ told him it was the computer room and unused storage space, and we were waiting for some shelving. I guess he believed it, as he went on to check the break room, the washrooms and the fire escape.
Another one came over to us all and was walking around the desks. He stopped at Mike's (where I was sitting pretending it was mine) and said don't you find it difficult to work with all those papers, trays and folders stacked up on the end of your desk like that? AJ and the Head Office guy were making faces at me, so I chickened out and said no, they're only there until this afternoon, when our Sales rep's coming to pick them up. He should have realised something was wrong when AJ and the Head Office guy visibly relaxed, but he just nodded, made a tick on his board, and walked on. Maybe it was a 'they're good at lying under pressure' box.
He looked at LeeAnn's dried stick plant and asked her why she was keeping a dead plant on her desk, but LeeAnn told him it's not dead, it always looks like that.
The Head Office guys told one of them we'd be having a surprise fire drill tomorrow morning, so he said oh good, we'll come back for that.
AJ had a strong coffee when they finally went at twelve, but he didn't help me move my stuff back in my office though. He then came out his office to grab Andy, and told him they'd be back tomorrow morning to see our fire drill, so Andy panicked and they called a practise fire drill for three.
It was a good fire drill - we all sat waiting for three and then went out when the alarms went off. Steve from Stores and I got our sheets from Andy and he told us it had only taken twelve minutes to evacuate everyone, but AJ came over then and said it wasn't good enough and we all had to be faster. Andy said OK, so we sent everyone back in and then Steve from Stores triggered the alarm again and AJ, Andy and I watched and timed the second evacuation. That took seven minutes, but AJ still wasn't that happy and wanted to know if we could do it even faster. Everyone was sent back in, and after a few minutes for them to settle back down they sent me over to trigger the alarm again. I walked in through the big double loading doors on to the shop floor only to find everybody hadn't gone back to their workstations after all - they were all standing around just inside the door, waiting for the alarm to go off.
The third evacuation only took two minutes. AJ said good, I think we're ready for them now.
Friday: LeeAnn came in 7 minutes late - she said the bus driver was new to the route and confused by the traffic signals, so they came the long way round. Her excuses are getting better.
The Health and Safety inspectors didn't show up first thing, so we all had another fire drill at half nine. It took four minutes for everybody to get out, and the Health and Safety inspectors turned up just as Andy was filling out the master sheet from the two sheets Steve from Stores and I had filled out and AJ was sending everyone back in. They said oh, how did it go? and when Andy said four minutes they said that's good - what a shame we missed it, and then got back in their cars to go on to the next inspection at one of our sister sites.
AJ said at the morning meeting that there'd been no visible throughput in productivity, but James said that's because it's unquantifiable. I said yes, we've all saved valuable time, but unfortunately nobody's saved enough to be measurable - leave us to keep on with monitoring our own performances for a while and we'll all be able to show you. He said oh yes, that's great, and went away happy.
He put his head around my office door just before he went to the afternoon meeting at Head Office, to ask me how much unquantifiable time I thought I'd personally saved this week, so I thought for a while and then said nearly five minutes. He bought it and went away.