No smelly lunches: BHP's strict staff rules

04:39, Aug 23 2011

Mining giant BHP Billiton has defended as "effective" its strict office etiquette policy, which bans workers from eating pungent food, throwing jackets on their chairs or putting Post-it notes on their monitors or keyboards.

The company outlined its "Office Environment Standard" in a memo emailed to employees in Brisbane this month.

The etiquette memo states:

- Post-it notes are to be removed from your monitors and keyboards at the end of the day;

- Other than workstation identification and first aid or fire warden signage, nothing is to be placed on workstation dividers, walls or doors at any time;

- Additional clothing must be stored in designated storage areas during the workday and not on chairs or at workstations;

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- Food must not be eaten at your work station;

- No food that emits strong odours is allowed;

- Mobile phone ring tones kept at low volume and forwarded to voice mail when out of office; and

- No iPod or MP3 players to be used in the office.

Company spokeswoman Samantha Stevens said the policy had been implemented for a "couple of years" across all BHP Billiton offices in Australia.

No employee had complained to the best of her knowledge.

"It's a pretty straightforward, effective policy, which has been in place for some time across our offices, partly because we all travel so much," she said.

Ms Stevens said the office etiquette policy was designed to accommodate employees travelling between offices or "hot desking" and ensure the security of information.

"It's pretty common in open plan environments to have ground rules so people can work happily and co-operatively in a clean space," she said.

It is understood employees' cleanliness is monitored by the office cleaners.

The tone and volume of employees' voices and their language is supervised by senior company executives.

BHP Billiton in April leased more than 6000 square metres in the "Blue Tower" at 12 Creek Street, Brisbane, to house its expanding coal operations in Queensland.

The company also has in excess of 7300 square metres of office space in Riparian Plaza.

Ms Stevens said the Brisbane memo was reflective of policies across all BHP Billiton offices.

BusinessDay.com.au