A friend ( let’s call him X ) has a rule in his office – All employees are required to do the dishes once a week after lunch. While a cook comes in to cook healthy lunches which the entire team has together, the dishes have to be done by the team.

When it was initially introduced, some of the employees resisted. They felt it was not their job or beneath their dignity to wash someone else’s lunch plates including their own. Some even quit.

However, X has stuck to his guns and ‘doing-the-dishes’ is now mandatory and non negotiable.

A few weeks back, he got a call from his office manager.

A new employee ( let’s call him D ) who had recently joined was not willing to wash the dishes. X then explained to his office manager, that just as he had explained to them, the value of washing dishes, they were now expected to explain the same to D and convince him why it was required.

What made matters a bit complicated was that D’s girl friend had also joined the company sometime before D – She was aware of the rule and was trying to cover up for him, even going to the extent of volunteering to do D’s share when it was turn to was the dishes.

Somehow, the office manager and colleagues managed to convince D not to quit AND also wash the dishes when it was his turn.

This is where it gets interesting.

On a recent a shoot where D was assisting him – X was trying explain an office procedure which D was not too happy about but then acknowledged grudgingly that it was for his own good.

D then opened up and told X, about the effect, learning to wash dishes in office had on him.

After washing dishes for the first time in office, he had helped his mom for the first time in the kitchen – by washing the dishes.

D’s mom was so surprised and proud of that fact, that she bragged about it to the entire immediate and extended friends & family.

The next time around, at a family meal, D insisted that his mom sit and eat with the family while he took her role and served everyone (instead of vice versa where the entire family is usually served by mom first )

D told X all of this while grinning from ear-to-ear and seemed pleased as punch doing it 🙂

X was a bit overwhelmed on hearing this – all this change from a guy who washed ‘bartan‘ for the first time in his life simply because he was forced to do so on account of an office rule.

The reason X had this rule was to get rid of caste and gender bias – and a son learning to help his mother was a very pleasant added bonus.

So, when was the last time you did the dishes ?


Note: While I appreciated A’s point of view of inculcating a sense responsibility and dignity of labour among his team, I wasn’t sure if having one member of the team do dishes was a very good use of their time, especially in large corporate offices. On hindsight, I guess it’s good to be wrong sometimes as we all can change the world for the better by influencing one person at a time.


Btw, here is an interesting article on the benefits of doing dishes by hand.