Website lets workers let off steam

HENRIETTA COOK
Last updated 13:30 22/08/2012

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Poor pay, bad management and having to bring tea bags and milk to work are enough to make anyone annoyed at their boss.

Now employees can vent their workplace gripes at NakedOffice, a website that lets people anonymously review their past and present employers, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the inner workings of some Australian companies.

"This company has one of the most frustrating, dysfunctional work environments I have ever encountered. Employee initiative is actively discouraged," writes one worker of Dick Smith Electronics.

"Long-standing problems go unrecognised and unresolved by management, even when there are obvious simple solutions. While there are supposedly avenues for staff to offer feedback and suggestions, they are purposely designed to be impractical and difficult to engage, and the administration in Sydney makes its contempt for the plebs abundantly clear."

Another review, of Freehills law firm, claimed it was the "single worst place I've ever worked".

"They only care about profits and keeping their clients happy ... to make more profits. Hideously long hours, poor workplace culture and no room for advancement unless you're a lawyer who likes to bill at least 14 hours a day, seven days a week."

The reviewer then lists fresh fruit and "awesome support staff" as some of the positives of working for the international law firm.

Chris Holmes, co-founder of NakedOffice, defended the reliability of the reviews.

"'You have to take it in good faith. If someone had a good experience with a company you'd hope they'd leave a review and vice versa. If they've had a bad experience then they are going to let people know about it."

Many of the poor reviews on the website are buttressed with positive remarks about perks including free lunches, gym memberships and staff discounts.

Swinburne University of Technology has dedicated staff and flexible working hours but suffers from "significant staff and resource cuts", according to a review on the site.

"This has meant the TAFE division [h]as slumped into a rut of '80s style, shoot-from-the-hip leadership that has polarised the culture."

Fairfax Media, the owner of this website, also makes an appearance on the website: "If you can keep up with the pace, it's a very exciting work environment."

The site lists about 3000 Australian businesses, but only 180 reviews have been posted, and proving their authenticity is difficult.

But Holmes said momentum is growing and he plans to launch the site in New Zealand and Britain. A similar website called Glassdoor already operates in the US.

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He also plans to open the website to companies to respond to reviews and promote their brand.

Freehills, Dick Smith Electronics and Swinburne University, but all declined to comment.

Richard Clancy from the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry is sceptical about the website. "It is questionable whether employers would place any value on the contents of these sort of internet discussion forums," he said.

- The Age

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