The age old question of trying to persuade employees to continue to care about work on a Friday has vexed employers for decades. A popular choice is appearing to tolerate diversity, of clothing, in the thought this will encourage productivity.
Friday is carefully chosen. Employees think they are being offered relaxed autonomy in preparation for the weekend. But employers know that they will be hungover, lacking innovation, and hence will just plump for a predictable variant on what they wore last week. It’s a safe gamble.
That is, until last Friday, when associates of Godwin Law took it too far. Initially, when senior partner, Mike Godwin, saw their identical khaki chinos and white polo shirts, he thought mid-90s Silicon Valley style had finally reached Rochdale. But when they set up tiki torches on the office terrace, affectionately known as “fag ginnel”, he realised matters were taking an unpleasant turn.
“Nazis. I didn’t realise it at first, I thought it was just the beige conformity we encourage. But they were dressed as Nazis. In the UK, that’s the sort of behaviour we reserve for potentially illegitimate members of the Royal family as part of an ill-judged fancy dress outfit. It has no place in polite middle class society. Or in Rochdale.”
Godwin immediately rescinded the dress down Friday policy, and the predominantly male fee earners will now wear their uniforms of ill-fitting suits with a slightly shiny bum five days a week. Female members of staff can continue to dress as they wish, as long as they wear heels.
Normal UK service has therefore resumed and racism has been restored to its rightful role as insidious and indirect. Members of staff may continue to simultaneously justify lack of representation of minorities in the media as due to “negligible” levels in the population whilst explaining immigration controls are needed as white Brits are “becoming the minority”. Staffroom newspapers will continue to encourage employees to hate their fellow man, especially if he’s fleeing persecution. CVs from people with “funny names” will continue to go in the bin, without making a song and dance about it.
This is what makes Britain Great, and far better than those godawful outspoken brash Americans.