You’d hear the rattle of the cups first. “Ooh, lovely, just what I need” or “About time, I’m gasping”, people said, looking up from their desks.
The trolley would nose its way through the doors, with the the tea lady in tow (I’m not sexist, it was the 1980s!)
And we’d all stop as she made her way around the desks, dispensing cups of brown fluid of diverse flavours as people um’ed and ah’ed over the cakes, buns and other confections.
Conversation would naturally arise, personal chit-chat and the office gossip, mixed together like the milk and the tea.
After 10 minutes or so, physically and mentally refreshed, people would return to their work. Feeling a little more connected, safer and secure and satisfied they were completely up-to-date on the latest rumours.
These little shared moments of sociability and connectedness were the oil that kept the wheels turning and made people feel good.
The tea trolley didn’t last long, cut in the name of efficiency. Instead of that moment of mutual connection and shared experience, we scuttled off to the canteen on our own.
We need to allow time at work for people to be social, share each other’s lives and build deeper connections.
Bringing back the tea trolley would definitely help to de-crapify work