No, the “Individual Office Plants” e-mail (below) isn’t a joke, we didn’t make it up, and it’s not going to be featured in an upcoming Dilbert cartoon. In fact, “Individual Office Plants” is an authentic e-mail forwarded to me by a Writing Matters reader who shall remain nameless. Like many of you, the person who sent me this specimen has a fondness for language, even language foibles. And, like many of you, the person who sent me this e-mail is an excellent writer.
That’s why I’m sponsoring this e-mail contest. I know those of you who read this blog can really turn a phrase, so I’m challenging you to revise (repair??!) the “Individual Office Plants” e-mail and send me your revision before March 2, 2010. The person who sends in the most improved and most readable version will win bragging rights and a copy of our Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail workbook. Here’s the e-mail:
To: All Staff
From: Office of Environmental Safety
Subject: Individual Office Plants
Plants add tremendously to our environment and office atmosphere. They are a blessing and a gift! However, over the past several months our Office of Environmental Safety has received multiple reports and complaints of plant born infestations. During a recent Office of Environmental Safety courtesy walk through, plants located in several individual offices are apparently not being well cared for or properly maintained. In some cases this lack of attentiveness has caused contaminated, resulting in an infestation. This is a safety violation! Staff members who maintain plants to their offices are solely responsible for their care and maintenance.
- PLEASE minimize the number of plants in your office space. Generally, it is recommended that an individual have a maximum of two plants in their office.
- Remove or dispose those plants that require higher-maintenance to reduce the worry about watering and care.
- Do not over water your plants! Plants grown in offices usually have a diminished need for watering since light levels, low humidity and cool, comfortable temperatures are constant.
- Plants are not created equally…especially with regards to their adaptability to a particular office environment, tolerances, or neglect…please constantly check your plants.
The Office of Environmental Safety and the Office of Building Management are committed to ensure a safe and healthy work environment to all staff members. Those who continually neglect caring for their office plants will be subject to citation and a removal of all their plants from their offices. Please care for your plants. If you need any assistance in removing your plant, please contact the Office of Environmental Safety via the Intranet.
- Revise the e-mail as deeply as you’d like, but don’t change the overall meaning or intent.
- Post your revision as a comment or e-mail it to me, so I can post it as a comment.
- Send your entries by March 2, 2010.
— Leslie O’Flahavan