The Weird Workplace

A collection of unusual and quirky stories from across Canada and around the world
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/26/2018
Dumbbells
Goodlife has asked jobseekers to do a 20-minute workout for the past 15 years, and nobody has complained until now, according to Sarah Moore, Goodlife’s director of talent acquisition. Credit: Tetiana Rostopira (Shutterstock)

Working out to see if you’ll work out

LONDON, ONT. — Applying for a job as an IT business analyst at Goodlife Fitness in London, Ont., Roberta Clifford was surprised she was expected to do a workout. “I nearly choked… There’s no way you’re going to get someone’s best in an interview when they know they have to work out with a senior member of the company, a total stranger, right after,” said Clifford, according to CBC News. Goodlife has asked jobseekers to do a 20-minute workout for the past 15 years, and nobody has complained until now, according to Sarah Moore, Goodlife’s director of talent acquisition. “Where some companies might take a candidate out for coffee... we use the workout as an opportunity to introduce our potential candidates to our core business of fitness and to have a conversation outside of the formal interview process.”

Not taking it lying down

WATERLOO, ONT. — A university professor turned the tables on one of his students recently when faced with harsh criticism online. The exchange happened on Reddit after the University of Waterloo student said his teacher was overrated. He said computer science prof Dave Tompkins over-explained obvious things, made bad or inappropriate jokes, and was “legit addicted” to soft drinks. Tompkins responded, saying he also thought he was overrated, admitting some of his lectures “suck,” and that he drinks too much Coke Zero, though he defended his jokes and teaching methods. “All I can do is try to get better,” he said. “Constructive criticism helps, and there was some of that in your post, so thanks.”

Did not see that coming

CUPERTINO, CALIF. — Apple’s new US$5-billion headquarters opened with much fanfare in April 2017 in Cupertino, Calif., with the circular design of one building earning it the nickname “the spaceship.” But the glass walls are proving a problem for some, as revealed in 911 recordings.  “We had an individual who ran into a glass wall pane and they hit their head. They have a small cut on their head and they are bleeding, slightly disoriented,” said one caller, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I walked into a glass door on the first floor of Apple Park when I was trying to go outside, which was very silly,” said another. When Albert Salvador, Cupertino’s building official, visited the round cafeteria building last year, he worried people would walk into the glass walls because they couldn’t distinguish them from the equally clear automatic doors. “When you clean the windows, you can’t even tell some of them are there.” California’s Code of Regulations requires companies to protect “against the hazard of walking through glass by barriers or conspicuous durable markings,” but that code is meant more for construction workers than office employees.

Work out or walk out

STOCKHOLM — Workouts are popular at some firms in Sweden in a bid to improve productivity, according to the Daily Mail. Employees at sportswear retailer Bjorn Borg, for example, leave their desks every Friday for a weekly workout at a nearby gym — and it’s mandatory. “If you don’t want to exercise or be a part of the company culture, you have to go,” said CEO Henrik Bunge. A 2014 study from the University of Stockholm found exercising during the workday made employees healthier and more concentrated, while reducing absences. “There’s this idea that you’ll be healthy, strong and happy if you get a lot of exercise, if you spend a lot of time in nature,” said Carl Cederstrom, economics researcher at Stockholm University.

Eye-catching eye roll

BEIJING — A journalist’s eye roll during a news conference spread quickly on Chinese social media recently before censors intervened, according to Reuters. It was during China’s annual parliament session, and Zhang Huijun was asking a long question about state asset management. Her query was apparently all too much for Liang Xiangyi, a reporter from financial news outlet Yicai, as she looked Huijun up and down and then dramatically rolled her eyes and turned away — all on live TV. Huijun works for American Multimedia Television USA, based in Los Angeles. The incident was seen by millions and soon inspired GIFs and parodies across social media. Xiangyi was said to have been pulled temporarily from her work, while most of the online posts were removed.

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