From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Hot-desking Holden ploughs on. The Age‘s editor-in-chief Andrew Holden continues to push through a controversial “hot-desking” plan despite heated opposition from many of his newsroom hacks. In a jargon-laden email sent to Fairfax staffers yesterday Holden updates his troops on the so-called “Real Time Working” initiative. Managing editor Michael Schlechta will decide who goes “mobile” first, and we hear journos are having to fight to retain a fixed desk. In another space-saving measure, The Australian Financial Review‘s Melbourne journos will join The Age on level two. But, in an apparent OH&S measure, Holden emphasises: “I will place them in a separate area to the business journalists of The Age/SMH.”

When Crikey googled hot-desking — which describes multiple workers using a single work station during different time periods — we were intrigued by the second item that popped up. It’s a 2011 piece, published in The Age, by James Adonis (apparently “one of Australia’s best-known people-management thinkers”).

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His story ends thusly:

“Recruitment firm Kelly Executive has noticed an increase in the number of Australian workplaces transitioning into hot-desking environments. And they don’t like it.

“General manager Ray Fleming told me that ‘the popularity of hot-desking is being driven by the obvious environmental and cost benefits but may not be the right option for all types of businesses’.

“He added that productivity and motivation are maximised when employees have their own workspace. It helps them to ‘feel part of the organisation and solidifies their position in the team, and businesses need to keep this in mind. Businesses also need to be aware that shifting to hot-desking just to save money may drive some employees to look elsewhere for employment’.”

Could The Age‘s hot-desking drive provoke an exodus to the dark side (aka News Limited)? Or are the hacks in a tizzy over nothing? If your company has introduced hot-desking, get in touch anonymously and let us know how it’s gone.

Newman is lovin’ it. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman may be forced to cut health services and scrimp on disability spending due to his state’s parlous budgetary situation, but thank heavens he found some cash for this:

“Minister for Environment and Heritage Andrew Powell has announced a major initiative with KFC food outlets to introduce recycling bins at 43 stores in Queensland. The Newman Government contributed $40,000 to the project, which was launched at KFC, Kelvin Grove …”

Our tipster was not impressed:

“This is fishy for a few reasons. Why is government funding this, not the private business? And why are they putting $40k into this fairly trivial initiative after cutting funding to so many important health services since gaining power in the state?”

Good question.

Literary pollies. We’ve had some more suggestions for our Tips list on politicians who are turning to literature (think Chris Bowen and Andrew Leigh); federal Labor MP Graham Perrett has written two saucy romance novels (the latest one is called The Big Fig). Are there more works in the pipeline? And we’ve had this suggestion from a reader on a political book they’d like to read:

 “I dunno who might be writing anything but what I’d love to see published would be an English-Ruddese dictionary so we can all easily figure out what on earth programmatic specificity is once and for all …”.

Perhaps that’s a project for K-Rudd now he’s keeping quiet on the backbench? If you know of other politicians who are penning books, drop us a line.

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or use our guaranteed anonymous form

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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