At the site where I work, we have a very large campus with a central cafeteria. Many people like to work at their desks during lunch so they get food at the cafeteria and bring it to their desk. Luckily, there are remote dish collection stations around the campus at the coffee stations near the bathrooms. You put your lunch dishes/glasses/silverware/trays in the holder and they're taken back to the cafeteria later in the day.
Not any more. A sign went up today stating, roughly, "In order to standardize our Americas food service operation, remote dirty dish pickup from coffee stations is being eliminated. Please use disposable (biodegradable) food containers if you choose to eat outside the cafeteria."
I can't think of any other reason to take this measure beyond cutting the cost of having someone bring back dirty dishes from the coffee stations. As a note, there isn't a smell issue as the coffee stations are away from the cubes and near the bathrooms. Even when the dish dropoff was near the cubes, there wasn't a smell issue as the dishes/trash were taken away every day.
As a result of this, one of two things will happen:
- people will eat their lunch in the cafeteria and get less work done in the day (which will make employees less productive, even if a lunch break is a perfectly reasonable thing; or the employees will have to work more hours later in the day)
- people will use the so-called "biodegradable" food containers (which look a lot like plain old plastic and styrofoam to me) and thus generate more landfill trash.
Never underestimate the ability of companies to come up with new surprising ways to cut costs. I wonder what's next?
Do you have good tales of strange cost-cutting solutions at your company?