The corporate wokery are now taking their whining points from British sitcoms.
Chartered Management Institute CEO Ann Francke believes workplaces should move to curtail “chat about football or cricket” as being divisive; excluding women, and “a gateway to more laddish behaviour.” Francke does not want such behaviour banned — just ‘moderated.’ In corporate HR speak this is a meaningless distinction – why moderate when you can ban?
Further, does Francke think sports talk should be penalised? If she wants employers to ‘moderate’ such chat, if an avid football fan does not comply will there be consequences? And if so, what consequences are appropriate?
Perhaps employees should be provided a pre-approved list of conversation topics. Although, if sports are an offensive gateway drug to debauched discussion it is hard to imagine what topics are appropriate.
We all appreciate feeling included in the workplace. But employees should not be forced to stop discussing topics they’re interested in because someone might feel excluded.
But Francke is not the only one to lament the blokey banter over sports.
The nerdy stars of The IT Crowd, Roy and Moss, faced similar sports talk ‘exclusion’, but found a solution that could also help today’s working women.
They are rescued by Bluffball — a website of daily football phrases to help you fake your way through the frightening sports talk.
So, just as Moss can use the site to “sound like a big normal man”, women who are “being forced” to discuss sports can join in, and office harmony can be maintained.
And, if Bluffball is not viable, Francke can consider other options.
She can be comforted that women can – and do – enjoy watching sports and are happy to engage in lively watercooler chat about the latest sports news.
Also, her concern that chatting about sports can lead to “chat about sexual conquests” is nonsense and can be immediately dismissed.
When your workplace policy reads like an IT Crowd sketch perhaps it is time to re-think “that ludicrous display.”