A fancy foreign word for 'the office is in a mess'

People & Business

Along with the cellular office and hot desking, I can now add another word to the ever-growing lexicon of modern office-speak: "Burolandschaft".

According to a booklet, "Everything you wanted to know about offices ... but were afraid to ask" published by President, an office furniture maker based in St Albans, Burolandschaft is German for "office landscape".

"It's a form of open-plan layout with seemingly chaotic arrays of desks which are arranged to reflect the flow of communication between people and departments," says the booklet.

It never really caught on but President's marketing director Colin Watson still recommends it, as any German words in a conversation sound impressive. How about: "My personal Weltanschauung encompasses a certain feeling of Schadenfreude when I see a Zeitgeist that allows people to work in Burolandschaft."

Feel free to use this phrase near the photocopier any time.

Oh dear, more pre-election revelations of Tory sleaze; Ken Clarke, the Chancellor, has been in court, with the words "theft" and "fraud" flowing thick and fast. Sadly for Tony Blair and pals, it's only in a training video compiled by Beachcroft Stanleys, a City law firm.

In the vid titled "On Trial" our Ken poses briefly as a jury foreman, who banters with the judge, played by his former Government colleague David Hunt, ex-Minister of Employment. All participants appeared for free so, tragically, there is not even the scintilla of sleaze.

The mock trial was shot at Nottingham Galleries of Justice last October and forms part of a training pack for the insurance industry.

In the trial an insurance company has rejected a claim for theft. This enables Mr Hunt to speculate on the legal definition of a "reasonable man" and how he might behave. Would a reasonable man, for instance, be one who likes his pint and cigar, wears ill-fitting suits and hush puppies?

Such a blunt reference to the Chancellor seems a trifle unfair. A spokesperson for Beachcroft points out: "The Chancellor was quite smart actually - he was wearing a blue pinstripe." Obviously Ken is repositioning himself as an extra for Kavanagh QC after the election.

Dick Brown, the American-born chief executive of Cable &Wireless, has accelerated his drive to instill US corporate values into the bureaucratic relic of empire by holding 6am meetings for directors.

Adrian Moorey, director of corporate communications, was absolutely determined not to be late yesterday morning. Like many of C&W's board, he rides a motorbike to work to cut down on commuting time.

So an eager Mr Moorey revs up to C&W's office just off High Holborn at 5.45 to find that the corporate garage is locked. Obviously other members of the company haven't heard about Mr Brown's initiative. Anyway, Mr Moorery parks his "Hog" on a meter, plonks the coins in, and heads indoors for the meeting.

He finally emerges at 9.30, just in time to see his beloved bike being clamped. It cost him pounds 68 to get it back. So much for trying to save on commuting expenses.

Norman Lyle, the senior vice-president of the Chartered Institute of management Accountants (CIMA), has been appointed group financial director of Jardine Matheson.

Congratulations. But hang on. Jardine is a Hong Kong business, despite now being registered in London, and Mr Lyle will have to move to the colony. So how will herepresent CIMA at the same time when he succeeds Rod Hill as the association's president in June?

John Chester, CIMA's secretary, says it will be "no problem at all. In fact it's a good thing. We're an international organisation, and he will be very well placed to represent us."

Mr Chester points out that Jardine has its head office in London, so Mr Lyle should have no problem attending the four or five CIMA board meetings each year.

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