July 27th, 2009

Just going Code Three

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Working in a call centre where your toilet breaks are recorded on a database, no not some slave labour outsourced  unit somewhere in Asia, but the Metropolitan Police Control Room in Lambeth.

A recent order states that staff must record all toilet breaks as a “Code Three” (whatever the hell that is) in a bid to minimise the amount of time away from the desk/telephone.

Superintendent Russ Hanson-Coles, said: “Staff in this environment have regular breaks that compare very favourably with outside industry so the need for extra personal breaks should be minimal.” Blimey, he should come & have a look at our control room where the only breaks you do get are toilet breaks.  A couple of toilet breaks in a shift of 10 hours where you don’t get your dinner break until you’ve done 8 hours on some occasions are the only breaks form the stresses & strains of shift.

I expect what they are really saying is, we’ve cut the staff down to the absolute minimum such that we cannot afford to have anyone away from their desk for any amount of time whatsoever, even if the whole shift turn up for work & some aren’t on leave or sick, so if we make them record their toilet breaks it will somehow shame them into not taking them & we can get a few minutes more productivity out of them, which will save us having to employ any more of the menial little buggers.

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  1. Blueknight says:

    Is there any room on the floor for a large potted plant? A couple of strategically placed aspidistras labelled ‘For emergency use only’ or ‘Gents’ might get the order rescinded.

    July 28th, 2009 at 00:29

  2. Oi says:

    Why not suggest installing a terminal in front of the “throne?”

    July 28th, 2009 at 01:55

  3. TunaSunrise says:

    They should’ve made it a Code No.2…

    July 28th, 2009 at 07:23

  4. Tom Gane says:

    My G-d. Are we now expected to call for a code three -number one, or two- depending on the call of nature.

    I understand the mantra of maximising resources, but please tell me this is some form of administrative madness under the guise of managerial oversight.


    July 28th, 2009 at 15:53

  5. Taffy says:

    Actually, this story is pretty lob.
    What it is based on is the 999 phone system used in the met’s new call centres. To “log out” of the system operators press a number dependant on the reason. 1 is for lunch, 2 is for H&S break, 3 is for number 1/2, 4 is for a meeting etc. Its really not that much of a deal. There was apparantly over zealous supervising at first but that is the blame of the supervisory culture, nothing else.

    And on the other hand, many of the staff there were, well, taking the piss. calls werent being answered, officers on bocu complaining of being told of something 20 mins after the event etc etc

    July 28th, 2009 at 16:35

  6. copper bottom says:

    classic… of course super-sonics dont have a pee… them being gov progrmmed robotniks…

    i have a good idea- why not fit staff with caths?

    simple! no requirement for leaving your desk at all!


    last week i didnt get a break at all!!!

    it was only pee breaks- lunch Al-Desko… just like lots of people!

    July 28th, 2009 at 17:43

  7. Fee says:

    It must be chaos if the whole shift went to the same dodgy restaurant the night before!

    Seriously, it’s the same everywhere. I have to account for every minute of every day. Including loo breaks (R&R). Take too long on R&R breaks, or take too many, and questions are asked. Fun when, like me, you have a bladder the size of a brussel sprout and a serious coffee habit!

    July 28th, 2009 at 18:18

  8. Tony F says:

    Some many years ago, we were subjected to a series of ‘time and motion’ studies. What was ironic, was that as the time and motion man didn’t have a clue as to what any of us actually did, the whole thing was meaningless. Bit like measuring lengths with an elastic band.

    July 28th, 2009 at 20:12

  9. MarkUK says:

    999 – please remember you’re now out of uniform. The Working Time Regulations apply. You MUST have at least a 20 minute break if you are working 6 hours or more. The break should be neither very early not very late into the shift.

    Yes, we all know that we don’t want to let down our mates nor the punters, but there are excellent reasons for you getting a break. Incidentally, the WRT Regs come under Health & Safety, so wave that stick.

    Sometimes there will be something really major going off, and you show your goodwill by staying on the desk. Unfortunately, if you always do it it becomes expected. If you all insisted on taking your breaks then perhaps, just possibly, Management would do something about staffing levels.

    July 28th, 2009 at 21:50

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