Every so often postal workers get called up to the front of the office for a ‘huddle’. This usually involves the manager standing by the front doors, issuing a long-winded statement from head-office about procedures, while the rest of us stand about feeling restive because we are getting behind with our work.
The word, as it applies to a management technique, seems to come from American football – those close-in, head-down strategy discussions in the middle of play. We used to have office announcements.
These huddles are invariably called while you’re unloading the frame and packing the mail ready to be bagged up and taken out. It’s a moment of intense concentration. How you pack your bags and in what order is critical for how the round will go. If you forget anything it will mean a long journey back to the office later and a possible reprimand from the manager.
We were recently called to the front to be told that our hours are going to be put back yet again. From now on, on a Monday, the last mail lorry will arrive at 7.15 rather than 6.30. This is how we’re given important information about changes to our hours and working conditions, in a last-minute announcement just as we are about to go out of the door.