Squid Challenge, Swimming to Work Among 2017's Most Offbeat Workplace Stories

By Kathy Gurchiek Dec 12, 2017
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Remember last year's feature film "Office Christmas Party," or just about any episode of "The Office"? Sometimes, life imitates art. You don't have to turn to the movies or TV for wacky, offbeat and sometimes disturbing tales about the workplace. We've collected some of the strangest true stories from 2017 to share with you. 

Squid Was Dropped on Call Center Workers Who Failed to Meet Sales Targets

Call center workers in a Manchester office in England who took part in a so-called team-building game came face-to-face with a squid if they failed to reach their sales targets. 
A video shows sales agents lying on the floor, their clothing and head covered with a large garbage bag, as a squid is dropped onto their faces.

Supervisors at the company said that staff members with higher sales numbers can decide on a challenge they ask consenting colleagues with lower sales numbers to complete. A news report quoting the supervisors said the challenges are voluntary and that anyone who does not want to take part does not have to. Other challenges have included chicken dances and a dance-off, the firm said. 
(The Mirror)  

Tired of Clogged Roads, German Man Swims to Work 

There's more than one way to fight traffic congestion, Munich resident Benjamin David has found: He swims to work instead of driving.

The beer garden worker dons a wetsuit, packs his laptop and clothes into a waterproof bag that he wears on his back, and enters the River Isar for his commute. It's not only the fastest method that he has found, it's also "beautifully refreshing," he said in a news report.

He used to commute by bus, by car or on foot, which all take longer than swimming, he said. However, during the winter when the water is 4 degrees Celsius, he does find other ways to get to work.

New York Man Claims He Was Struck by Lightning While Sitting in Office 

Nick Gemayel, the owner of an auto repair shop in Rochester, N.Y., said he was sitting in his garage office when a thunderstorm rolled through the area. Witnesses said that lightning hit the sidewalk, and the current traveled inside the building. 

Gemayel first realized he had been struck by lightning about 30 minutes after it happened, he said in a news report, when his muscles began "contracting and tensing" and his mind became "foggy." He was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, which is when muscle tissues begin breaking down due to electrical shock, according to a news report. 
(Fox News)

Fired for Refusing to Wear High Heels at Work—Now She's Fighting Back 

A petition created by Nicola Thorp, a British receptionist who said she was fired for refusing to wear high heels at her office job in 2016, got the attention of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The petition, which collected 152,420 signatures, had asked for a parliamentary hearing to "make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work." It was debated there on March 6

The Guardian reported that the parliamentary petitions and women and equalities committees were moved to investigate sexist work dress codes and called for a review of equality legislation. The equalities minister, the paper reported, "called on all employers to review their dress codes to reform any offices still retaining a 'dodgy 1970s workplace [dictate].' She said the government 'utterly condemns such dress requirements where their effects are discriminatory.'"

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Meet the Boss Behind Britain's Wackiest Workplace 

Chris Morling, founder of the price-comparison website Money.co.uk., spent £3 million ($3.9 million) turning his company's workplace into a multicolored fun palace. The company headquarters is in a Victorian castle in the Cotswolds of England. It has a "Star Wars"-themed cinema where employees can get free popcorn, and meeting rooms are designed as an ice cave and a ski lodge. There is a "Downton Abbey"-style library with a secret passage in the bookcase, PlayStations, table football and pinball machines, and a 98-inch TV screen. Perks for his 50 employees include an annual all-expenses holiday abroad to destinations such as Florida, New York and Copenhagen, Denmark, and top performers can receive a bonus of up to 45 percent of their salary.

U.S. Navy Crew Grounded After Pilot Draws Penis in the Sky

A U.S. Navy air crew flying an advanced fighter jet used the exhaust from the aircraft to draw a giant penis in the skies over Okanogan County in Washington.

The crew was grounded Nov. 17, the day after the incident, as images of the condensed air trail figure went viral on social media. The Navy, which is trying to crack down on sexual assault in its ranks, issued a formal apology. 

In Japan, Robot-for-Hire Programmed to Perform Buddhist Funeral Rites 

Japanese company SoftBank Group Corp. has introduced a new role for its humanoid robot "Pepper." It can now step in as a Buddhist priest-for-hire, available for funerals when a human priest can't be found.

Nissei Eco Co., a plastic-molding maker, wrote the software that allows the robot to chant sutras while tapping a drum. Many Buddhist priests are receiving less financial support from their communities as Japan's population ages and decreases. This has prompted some priests to find part-time work outside their temple duties and making them unavailable for funerals, according to Nissei's executive adviser. A robot priest also costs less at about $450 per funeral versus more than $2,200 for a human priest. 

K9 Member Joins Officers in Push-Ups 

Police officers at one Alabama station are dogged about their push-ups. A video caught Nitro, one of the members of the department's K9 unit, joining in as two officers performed a round of push-ups.

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