Virgin One are showing a new series called Naked Office where problems within companies get cured by having the staff shed their clothes together and so far we’ve had one episode involving a fruit & veg delivery service.
The precursor to this series was a one-off show a couple of years ago, which involved an advertising agency. As far as I can remember all the staff bar one lady stripped bare, and British Naturism offered them all membership and I believe some of the memberships were taken up.
It can be argued that the program caters to the voyeuristic element of the audience and if the puerile comments that cropped up on Twitter the day after are anything to judge by, that does apply.
Having said that it would be all too easy to write this program off as a piece of tosh and exploitation without a second thought.
However putting aside the nakedness, the program becomes about building team spirit and individuals confidence (helped by the one-to-one coaching that seems to be given to the more problematic staff).
Having all the staff do something together to that they may feel is uncomfortable and that requires them to place a lot of trust in their colleagues is a good way to bond a team together, As well as having a side effect of boosting an individuals confidence.Lets face it being brave enough to strip in front of your colleagues is one thing but to do it in front of millions of TV viewers…
As some one who has worked in teams that have undergone adversity together (In my case, putting in 16-18 hour days, seven days a week for several months !) The team does come out stronger at the end of it. Simply stripping your clothes off in the office has to be a much easier way to do it than my experiences.
Speaking as one of a misunderstood minority (i.e naturists) seeing the naked human form on TV, especially naked men – and actually showing the ‘naughty’ bits unpixellated – can only be good for encouraging the further social acceptance of the naked body.
In the Fruit & Veg episode (double entendres undoubtedly considered prior to broadcast) the company had problems with communication and a lack of confidence from some people. And the business owners wanted some promotion of their business. I lost count of how many times they stated that they were planning on franchising the business soon.
One male member of staff declined to take part, saying that it was a waste of time. Interestingly enough, he was one that was having problems with his boss. According to a comment posted on the Daily Mails review of the program by a woman saying she was the partner of someone who refused to take part, who I am guessing is this individual – this person left the company. I’m not surprised as he was obviously not a team player and had issues.
My partner is in the first episode of this program, he refused to get naked because it was undignified and pointless, needless to say, his position in the company became untenable, and he has since left. No thought was given to the fact that some may have felt obligated to join in, due to peer pressure, which those with a low self esteem are most swayed by. I feel that this was an undignified, and possibly immoral thing to ask your staff members to take part in. I myself used to manage a team of staff, and feel, especially in a mixed gender workplace, that a boss ought to take measures to protect the dignity of their staff, not to expose them in a public environment for the promotion of my business read more…
The author argues that those with low self esteem were coerced into cooperating. I think it’s actually the other way around, and as for peer pressure, perhaps that could be considered team spirit ? As for it being undignified, that’s only the case if you see nakedness as being ‘wrong’.
Various things were done in order to get the staff used to the idea of accepting the naked body, a naked man was sent in to sweep the floors. After much giggling, He was eventually accepted and the staff admitted that they got used to the fact that he was sans clothes.
Another task was to create a sculpture from a pair of naked life models. Once again the staff got used to the idea of naked people quite quickly and were quite relaxed about it at the end of the exercise.
Seeing naked bodies in the flesh does can come as a shock to people who rarely see bare ‘naughty bits’, but it’s the novelty value that causes the shock, and once the shock wears off, unless the person holds very hard to their prejudices, it becomes accepted surprisingly easily.
When the big day came, the bosses stripped and drove into work naked (apparently it was -1 DegC…), the girls in the warehouse stripped but resorted to stickers on the nipples to maintain their modesty, and the supervisor, Dave, stripped bare quite happily, but rather strangely felt it necessary to fashioned a fig leaf from a cabbage !
Rather surprisingly the lady office manager who had a hobby as pro wrestler opted to stay in her underwear which I found rather surprising as I had her marked out as having the self confidence to bare all.
As with all these reality programs, you can watch it as a shallow entertainment program, with lots of childish sniggering at the naughty bits, you can watch it as an business program showing how to bond a team together or as an observation of human behaviour.
As an exercise in discussing attitudes to nakedness it’s a useful tool. My colleagues don’t know I’m a naturist, but if the discussion turns to this program, I’ll happily admit to it, whereas it’s unlikely to crop up in day to day conversations.
Ultimately the program is what it is and it’s up to the viewer to view it through their own perception filters and make up their own mind as to it’s value to themselves.
As for me, I shall be watching it with interest to see how the non naturist public react to being naked and daydreaming that I could sit at my office desk as nature intended.