The official guide to office tours

Hannah Sims · 20 Mar

Every workplace needs an enthusiastic tour guide to tell the new recruit how it is.

So, you’ve been chosen to show the New Starter around. Rejoice in the prestige. Plan carefully and make sure you don’t leave anything off your tour - except, perhaps, the gym showers. Every office has its quirks, but here’s the general script you should follow:

1. Model how to use your pass

Let them through the first door with your own pass and then waggle your finger knowingly: ‘I’ll let you in… just this once!”

Do not deviate from this tour, no matter the seniority of the New Starter


2. Locate the best vending machine

The best vending machine, by popular opinion, is the one that sells the posh popcorn. Down the hall there is the second best vending machine. Point out that it has Ribena.

3. Demonstrate the miraculous plant

Proudly display the plant in the corner that’s been alive for over five years, despite existing exclusively on a diet of cold tea, Nescafé and the second best vending machine’s Ribena. Pretend that it has a name. If you can come up with anything better than ‘Planty’ when put on the spot, then all credit to you.


4. Point slightly awkwardly towards the toilets

Something along the lines of, ‘there’s the men’s… and right there, next to it… that’s the women’s,’ as if this isn’t incredibly obvious. The New Starter looks like they are about to ask to use one. Ignore them to preserve the holistic nature of your tour.

5. Extol the virtues of the stationery cupboard

These will include, but are not limited to: the day that you suspect it gets restocked and your personal favourite shade of highlighter (‘cool raspberry blue’). Bestow large amounts of stationery on the New Starter, pretending to be a generous patron. Tell that story about how Joe once stapled his face. Spot Joe giving you the evil eye with his one good eye. Move on.

6. Linger in the break room

In the break room, sit down and turn on the television. Maybe start a game of table football or flick through a Christmas catalogue. In short, see how long you can take ‘showing’ the New Starter this room before they realise that the tour, like the mini football, has been kicked out of play. Maybe you can watch all of Loose Women together.  


7. Enforce strong beverage opinions early on

‘Almost anything can be microwaved,’ you say, cheerily, as you take the New Starter to the kitchenette. You pat the microwave affectionately. Once you managed to make someone an entire birthday cake in this beauty. Open the mug cupboard and assign the New Starter a mug. Try to find one without dried-on cake mix on the rim. Awkwardly settle on ‘World’s Best Dad’.

8. Skim over the gym

You have never been in the gym. You are afraid of the treadmills. Point vaguely down the way and mutter darkly about the gym and how people love it. The New Starter insists that you go and see it, and then starts up a long conversation with one of the instructors. You stand in the corner and try not to make eye contact with any of the equipment.  

9. Forget about the printer - but double back

Give the New Starter a choice between seeing the printer or the recycling bins. When they seem flummoxed, reassure them that you’ll let them see both. At the printer a single page lies in the tray. Indicate that the New Starter should turn it over. It says ‘welcome, New Starter’ in large WordArt letters. As they read it, you give Andy in promotions the thumbs up. Andy has been stationed with his finger hovering over the ‘print’ button all morning, waiting for your signal. Now, back to work, Andy.

10. Do not deviate from this tour, no matter the seniority of the New Starter

And helpfully chip in on other departments’ tours if you see them doing it wrong.

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