Why get rid of the bulletin board in the break room?

I’m not really mad enough to put this in the Pit, but I am kind of confused…maybe a little angry.

I work at a factory that makes flexible circuits. We have a break room that has two bulletin boards. One is for the company to post general memos and the usual stuff companies have to post, like those posters that tell you what the minimum wage is. The other bulletin board, until today, was for the employees to use to post general announcements. Usually, the people who used them would be selling something…their car, their house, old furniture, etc. There were also sometimes announcements from the company that they were offering discount tickets to some local event. Recently, a poster went up announcing that the company was giving out discount tickets to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. This bulletin board was in the back of the room…visible, but not obnoxiously so, IMO.

Today, I went to lunch and noticed that every notice had been cleared from that bulletin board except for the one about the Renaissance Festival. A memo was also there, telling us that they were getting rid of all the employee-use bulletin boards in all the plants. The president of the company had been taking customers (big-wigs from the companies who buy from us) on tours of our plant lately and apparently was embarrassed when they came through our break room at how “unprofessional” this bulletin board looked! I suppose I can understand that we need to look good for the customers, but…why take customers through an employee break room in the first place? (The building does have a rather poor design, and there are a couple of conference rooms that are only accessible through the break room, so maybe he had to take them through there. I think, though, if he was really embarrassed by us plebians wo happen to work for him, he could have avoided it.)

Also, since it is a break room…how “professional” does a bulletin board have to look? I never saw anything that could be considered the least bit offensive posted there. Every company I have worked for has had a bulletin board like this. I’ve never used them much, but…it’s an employee “perk” that costs next-to-nothing. I would guess that most companies have something similar. Why get rid of it? Why would a big-wig be offended by something that most likely exists in their own company (perhaps hidden a little better by a better building design, but still…)

I wonder what this means. I wonder if I’m making too big of a deal about this. Perhaps companies all over have gotten rid of such bulletin boards long ago, and this is just a sign of the times. Of course, they’ve just completely messed with our health insurance so most people are already mad, and they recently fired all the temps, which kind of makes me nervous. What’s up? Any ideas?

One of the stores I work at recently had a visit fromthe Board of Directors, and we were stunned by the stuff they required up to remove from view…things as necessary as our ladders in the back room that we need to get merchandise down from shelves. They even tried to have us remove the machines we use to customize customers orders…how we make our money…because they were “unsightly”. Fortunately the managers held firm on that one…shifting all that equipment for a twenty minute visit was stupid, and unrealistic.

Now they are micromanaging how many pencil cups we can have within the customer’s view.

How professional is it to have to go through the break room to get to the conference room. Next thing you know, they’re going to be getting rid of the break room!

Come to think of it, they did pass around a memo before these guys came through that “reminded” us that we are only allowed to have three “personal” items (such as photographs) at our workstations. I have worked there for two years and I have never heard of such a rule. That is already being relaxed because these guys are gone.

If it’s such a big deal, why didn’t they get rid of it before those guys showed up?

Pygmy Runner, one of my co-workers made the same comment. Next thing you know, we’ll all have to go out and eat in our cars to avoid embarrassing the company!

If a bulletin board is too obvious for them, how about suggesting a binder where everyone can add their flyers or announcements or whatnot. That way, when customers walk through, all they see is a 3-ring binder sitting on a table.

It a board for posting employee crap. Who cares if they remove it? You don’t even use it. Why spend one second of your time listening to whining about it? Sweat the stuff that matters.

Employee bulletin boards are actually a much more sensitive issue than they appear to be, because they can be used for union organizing. In companies with a strong “union free” management approach, typically anything posted on the employee bulletin board needs to be approved by management or communications. Whether this was actually what was behind your management’s decision, I don’t know.

At a large, well known company I used to work for, the home office was a location NEVER seen by customers. Occasionally, vendors were in the offices, but they were the ones trying to sell us something. The building was a sprawling, largely windowless suburban office complex with several HUGE cube farm areas.

The walls were painted a soul-sucking shade of “greige” (greyish beige). When the Creative team (copywriters, in house advertising) was moved to smaller, crappier quarters within the building, they did so in exchange for a promise to paint the walls of their new space in colors – specifically chosen from the palette in use within the company’s retail stores.

Needless to say, some muckety-muck walked through and was aghast at the “unprofessional” paint job and began to raise a big stink about it. He was only backed down when the art director asked him point-blank how the colors used to decorate our retail stores could be “unprofessional” at the home office.

Meanwhile, employees from other departments grew jealous of our slightly-less-soul-sucking work environment, with the end result that they got accent colors for their greige cube farm and everyone hated their job a little less. Oh noes!

You may not have seen it, but I bet there was something offensive posted when the big-wigs passed through. Perhaps specifically because they knew the big-wigs would see it.

Maybe it’s a stupid “liability” thing. You know, they’re worried that someone will buy a POS car, have a failed-brake accident and sue both the fellow-employee/seller and the company, because it was posted on site in the office.


I sincerely doubt that anything offensive was ever posted there…there is a highly tuned rumor mill that has had nary a whisper about it.

I also think the liability factor is pretty much nil…does that mean that if I buy a bad car out of a newspaper ad, I should sue the newspaper? That’s just stupid.

The anti-union thing might actually have some merits. The company has just majorly messed with health benefits and people are pissed. I suppose that they may be trying to nip organized labor in the bud. Good luck with that…maybe keeping an open and relaxed corporate culture and keeping employees happy would have been a better approach. But what the hell do I know?

Exactly, Tamex. I once worked on a nursing unit that got so draconian in its policies toward staff(non health care magazines etc were heavily frowned upon-that type of thing–you couldn’t use your cell phone in the break room, but no personal calls were allowed on hospital phones. This for a profession that is 93% women of child bearing age! How we were supposed to check on the kids after school didn’t occur to them.) that I voted with my feet and left. Life is much better where I am now, where I am treated like a person who might actually want to read a magazine on break! Imagine that. Sorry about the bulletin board.

I found out the real reason today. Someone posted a union flyer on one of the boards. They can’t legally tell us not to post them, but they can take the whole damn board away!

I just knew that “the boards look unprofessional” was a bunch of crap! And I can’t even post “This is a bunch of crap!” under the memo…well, not if I want to keep my job. I’m not so sure I want to keep working there. This feels like high school. I much more enjoy being treated like an adult.

I can’t believe a company that won’t let you read magazines or use cell phones on break, though! We have a table where people donate their used magazines so that people have things to read on break. I suppose someone will leave union flyers on the table and that will get taken away, too. sigh

Bummer…my industry is more laid back. In fact my ex-boss had “I hate the fact you guys don’t salute me” and “The beatings will continue until morale improves” bumper stickers right on his office door. His advertisement for our employee party also promised to “put the FU, back in 'fun.” :smiley: