Office warfare has begun – and your cubicle may become the front lines. While your office may not seem like the ideal stage for Workplace War III, studies are increasingly showing there’s real risks associated with going to work. While cases of office bullying and cyber threats abound, more frightening types of office conflict are on the rise. So hold onto your riot helmets as we take a tour of the state of war at work, and provide some advice to protect your cube… along with some ideas for easy-to-make office supply weapons to defend against interoffice invaders!
Businesses Are Becoming The Latest Battlegrounds…
Watch yo' back in the copy room… gone are the days when paper cuts were the only workplace hazard. Over 2 million Americans face violent crimes in the workplace each year. Scarily, homicide is now the second leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the US. The most dangerous occupations? Stats show that retail sales staff are the most at risk, followed by members of law enforcement, teachers and medical personnel.
Planning on making a move to a swanky corner office? You may want to think twice before taking the promotion. Every month five managers are murdered in the US, not to mention those who face other types of workplace violence. Employees who threaten their bosses most often “go postal” as a result of work-related stress, downsizing, wage cuts and the loss of job security. If your cubicle buddy transformed into Furious George after the last paycut, experts suggest keeping an eye out, as threats, violence and warnings often serve as handy hints that violent office warfare is on the horizon. Wearing your official management suit of armor to work isn’t a bad idea, either.
Before you string up cubicle trip wires to keep your creepy coworkers out, consider that three-quarters of office homicides are committed by outside assailants like robbers, thieves, and burglars, rather than your friendly neighborhood co-workers.
This said, your colleagues aren’t off the hook yet. White and blue-collared-criminal-coworkers can be perpetrators of minor office theft, such as stealing office supplies and inventory, making long-distance personal calls at work, and lying on their time cards. Stats show that around one third of workers consider stealing from work, with corporations taking a 120 billion dollar hit each year as a result of sticky fingers. Although not as dangerous as violent offenders, your klepto colleagues may be inviting crime into the office, and could threaten the angelic state of your otherwise joyful J.O.B.
DIY Office Weaponry
Shoot… what's a workplace warlord to do? Prevention is all fine and good, but what happens if you’re confronted with a potentially violent situation on the job? While most experts recommend staying out of the corporate combat crossfire, others suggest that with the nefarious state of our post-911 world, all workers should be fully engaged and fully empowered. And heck - as warmongering wackos would say, what’s more empowering than a workplace full of weapons?
Of course, we think the idea of fighting mock battles in the boardroom, equipped by a creative use of office supplies is funny. So until “worker’s defense” classes are included in standard employee benefits packages, you can still defend yourself from workplace evil doers with these handy do-it-yourself defensive weapons, made from common office supplies!
p.s. If you’re too busy actually doing your work to make advanced office supply weaponry, consider keeping a few key items handy at headquarters (AKA your desk) so you can quickly convert them into workplace weapons should a battle break out. Prepare a duffle bag filled with these weapons, plus some coffee and cookie rations, and you’ll never go MIO (Missing in Office).
Note: these ideas are for fun reading purposes only. We don’t recommend or condone actually using them, unless you’d like to head to that trendy bread and water barred joint for some long term unpaid “vacation”.
Tip: if you choose to act, time will be limited. Cubical combat requires simple weaponry that can be created out of common office supplies that will help you to defend yourself when the bomb drops. Click here for some more great ideas from the workplace warriors at Office Guns, the BEF Office Bricolage Contest for Office Weaponry, and the Office Supplies Blog.
From a Distance Defensive Weapons
IOEMs… Inter-Office Elastic Missiles
Never underestimate the power of elasticity or its ability to reap stretchy havoc from a distance on all kinds of dastardly folks. Fling its rubbery stingingness at your rival and aim for his or her sensitive bits.
• Eraser deadly arts… place an eraser on top of your 3-hole puncher. Pretend like you’re punching holes to give your rival a false sense of security, then release quickly to launch the eraser. If you’ve ever taken a big pink rubber eraser on the forehead, you’ll know it’s not going to be your day today.
• Super CD Slingshot… create a slingshot with a CD case by looping elastic around it. Use a pen or mechanical pencil with a pocket hook to grab the elastic – and watch with airborne delight!
Work-2-Ruler Bow & Arrow
Make a rough ruler bow by taping two rulers together at a 90-degree angle, and add an elastic band tied to both ends. Load an “arrow” using a pen or mechanical pencil with a pocket hook that grabs the elastic, pull back, and let it fly.
Impromptu Laser Pointer Gun
Have a laser pointer handy for all those super duper presentations? Shine it into your attacker’s eyes to buy yourself a few precious seconds to give you time to think out your next move.
Killer Clippy Goes to Combat
Attach an ideal clip shooter to a Staples Easy Button with elastic. As you press the larger of the 2 clips to shoot the smaller clip out, make sure to press hard enough to activate the Easy Button. That was easy!
Close Range Defensive Options
Air Blaster aka Can of Whoop-Eyes
Like the laser pointer gun, this can also temporarily cloud an evil doer’s vision… but you need to be within a few feet. Grab that aerosol air spray normally used to clean your keyboard and other electronic gadgets spic-and-span, and give your rival a little squirt in da eyes. Maybe they’ll see the light and turn away from a life of office crime. You may want to fashion a simple shield from a file folder or mouse pad to avoid the rush of air-ricochet.
Mouse Force Trauma
If you do get engaged in close-range combat, you may need to resort to blunt whacking devices. Firmly take that big office telephone, empty toner cartridge or your obsolete computer keyboard in both hands, and smack your opponent on the noggin’ so they learn that even at work you mean business. You can also use objects with cords as a substitute for nun chucks… try swinging your mouse or telephone receiver.
Filing Finger Jam of Doom
Found your opponent rummaging through the filing cabinet in search of sensitive documents? If you’ve ever had a car door closed on a digit, you’ll know this really stings. Close the drawer rapidly and they’ll be caught with their fingers in the confidential cookie jar.
Security Booby Traps
Paper Clip Trip Wire
Trying to keep grabby coworkers out of your storage closet? Set up a trip wire of computer cords or a string of paper clips just inside the door and take joy in their tumble.
Stapley Spidey Web
If at close range, grab your stapler and open it to the position that allows for wall stapling. Approach your opponent quickly and staple away!
Tip: if corporate civil war breaks out, choose your alliances wisely. We suggest joining forces with the battalion that has ultimate control over the storage room or ordering supplies.
Final words… Make Labor Love, not Workplace War
An old Italian proverb says that the best armor is staying out of gunshot. If that is the case, quitting your job may be your best bet to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. If quitting isn’t an option, then make labor love, not workplace war.