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I had to visit one of the campuses of a major company recently, where I was staggered by the proliferation of signs about how to use the car park and the stairs. ‘Beware – fragile human beings’ said the banner, which seemed more and more plausible if employees and visitors were subjected to the time taken to find a space, the barrage of advice and regulation, coupled with the dismal performance at reception. I am well used to spelling my name, but less used to having to spell ‘Lawyers in Business’. Having to restate my name to the receptionist when she was on the phone to the person I was visiting, with my name in front of her, did nothing to improve my joie de vivre!
A couple of weeks later I visited the company’s grand headquarters in London to run a session for 6 members of the legal team, 4 of whom had travelled from other continents. Imagine my delight that the session was being held in a stuffy windowless room – the best sort of environment for those suffering from jet lag. What a good idea not to have a waste bin in the meeting room, so that there was nowhere to put sandwich wrappers or other lunch debris. Thank goodness that there was a depiction of the correct method of hand washing above the basins in the toilets. As one of the participants pointed out, at least the depiction did not have also bear the disclaimer which they had seen on the equivalent in a US law firm’s London office.

Consciousness about the environment, safety and health are vitally important, but it is sad when the steps to engender it take on a joke dimension.