We have been hijacking everyone’s Windows lock screen at work on and off for a while now. It gives us a nice instant attention grabbing opportunity to remind people of something that is going on, for example a product launch, or as in today’s instance, a donor drive for the Anthony Nolan Trust. It’s non-intrusive in that it only appears when you unlock your screen after periods of inactivity or being away from your desk, and provided you don’t overdo it, it is a nice highly visual trigger to supplement other more conventional communications channels.
And then we went one step too far. The Marketing Team decided to create a series of branded images celebrating our commercial arrangements with Manchester United and Barcelona, for whom we are the official betting partner. Within hours people were complaining about having their ‘personal space’ invaded by an image of the Red Devils. They have a point. We have a very diverse workforce; however the one thing you can say about most of our staff is that they love their sport.
OK, so we can all be proud of our official betting partner status with arguably the two biggest club sides in the world. But if you support Liverpool, Chelsea, or Manchester City do you really want to see Manchester United players staring out of your screen at you every day?
With emotions running high I took the opportunity to throw up an instant poll on our intranet and a few days later the results made very interesting reading.
“The screensaver on my work computer belongs to the company – they can put anything they like on there.”
Admittedly the Wayne Rooney reference was a bit of a gag given all of the nonsense in the tabloid press recently, but I must confess that I expected a slightly higher percentage of staff to agree with the seemingly blindingly obvious statement that the company can do what they want with everyone’s desktop given that it belongs to them.
After a couple of hundred votes, representing well over 10% of the company, nearly a third of respondents made a clear statement that the screen on their work computer belongs to them and thereby implying that we have no right to intrude upon it.
So either I try to look for ways to change this mindset, which I must confess is rather tempting, or I simply accept this as a genuine sentiment and try to make sure that future images are slightly more palatable to what clearly has the potential to be a a highly partisan crowd.
What would you do?