Oatcakes and bonus balls – Do you have office traditions?

Offices are like little communities. When the team in an office are pulling together and working to support each other, they become very close, and in the best ones they are more like a family. They bicker, they laugh and cry together, and in the end, they often have what the Hawaiians call ‘Ohana’ – the ethos that groups form a sort of family bond and work together for the common good.

Of course, what this also means is that they develop their own little quirks and rituals. In some cases, this can be as big as the famous Google offices with their padded areas and their unusual décor. In others, it can be as small and simple as dress down Fridays.

We have more than our fair share here at Back Office Support Services. One we have is we all put in a pound on the bonus ball on the Wednesday lottery draw, if it comes out, you bag the lot. It’s not enough to retire on but hey, a few unexpected pounds mid-week on a rainy Wednesday can cheer you right up.

Although we long ago gave up the traditional birthday collection and the terrible long walk down to the shops for some (usually the same) poor soul who then had to try to find a suitable present. Instead, we decided to simply take up the collection, the company then doubles that up, and we ask the person what it is they would like. Isn’t that more practical? Certainly, everyone seems to be happy with the system.

Not that we are terribly practical like that all the time. Birthdays are always worth celebrating but, in the true spirit of Ohana, some are milestones. When they roll around, we roll back the carpet and kick our heels up with a good, old fashioned blow out. Often we theme them. The next one is an 80’s night with disco, appropriate clothing and suitable buffet food by which of course, I mean Findus Crispy pancakes (remember them?) and naturally a slice of arctic roll. It wouldn’t be the 80’s without arctic roll, would it?

Undoubtedly, one of my favourite traditions though is Oatcake breakfast on Friday. For those of you who were born in less civilised places that don’t know what they are, an oatcake, or a Staffordshire Oatcake, as they are sometimes called, it is a sort of oatmeal based pancake. They can be filled with just about anything savoury or sweet, but on a Friday morning we have them filled with eggs, bacon, sausages or even cheese and they certainly put a lining on your belly for the day. I assume they are called Staffordshire Oatcakes in the same way that Yorkshire puddings are because they were a staple of a lot of northern kiddies’ menus, not just the Staffordshire ones. I have posted a recipe below so you can try them.

The point of all these little traditions and rituals is that they make the workplace a happy and productive world where everyone is involved and wants to help each other out. I am convinced that one of the reasons we are so productive and successful here is that we have allowed that atmosphere to develop. We are a happy team, and that means we work as hard as we can for the customers.

Of course, it could also be down to the amazing, invigorating effects of an Oatie filled with sausage and egg and dripping with brown sauce.




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