Dear Aunty B,
Our business is in uproar over a stolen chicken parma sandwich.
My secretary had the chicken parma out of her sandwich stolen out of the fridge in our staff kitchen (the thief left the bread behind and just took the parma itself).
She was very upset and sent an email around to all staff which said: “Whoever took the chicken parma out of my sandwich, do not think I prepared this with any regard for personal hygiene. I hope you get food poisoning.”
Some staff found this email quite hilarious and forwarded it around to friends outside of the office. The saga of the chicken parma sandwich has now gone viral and is probably heading worldwide as I write this. I sympathise with my secretary for her stolen sandwich but I’ve already had two people from outside my business ring me up for a laugh about the sandwich.
Can I contain the damage in some way? And who do I get angry at – the thief or the secretary?
Dear Parma Lover
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The chicken parma theft is hilarious, but the viral email – not so much.
First, let’s deal with the thief. Obviously, your employees should feel safe to leave their lunch in the fridge without it being stolen, but the chicken parma thief is now well aware that their behaviour has been noted thanks to that viral email. Unless there is a subsequent spate of food thefts (watch the yoghurts, they always seem to go AWOL) then I think that matter ends there.
But the bigger issue is your secretary sending around an email to all staff in the first place, which has created the opportunity for the wags in the office to forward that email around outside your business.
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If you don’t have an email company policy which forbids work email from being used for anything other than business purposes you should create one now. That sort of policy would have covered everything – the secretary doesn’t send her original email and the office wags don’t forward it on. This policy should make it clear that you reserve the right to monitor work email accounts.
If you are able to work out who actually forwarded the email outside of your work then you may want to pull these people aside and explain how such emails can make your business into an Australia-wide news item – and not in a good way.
Ooh, I just got something in my inbox labelled: CHICKEN PARMA DRAMA. It couldn’t be, could it?
Your Aunty B
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