The 100% office (1930)

This is from an uncommon self improvement work from circa 1930 The 100% Office (Efficiency Magazine, London) by the prolific Herbert N.

Casson. He had obviously been taking his own medicine as he appears to have written over  60 books on these lines, as well as producing a monthly magazine on efficiency, not to be confused with Health and Efficiency.

Among his works are 52 Ways to be Rich, The Meaning of Life, The 12 Worst Mistakes in Business, The Romance of Steel, 12 Tips on Window Display, Will Power in Business etc., He was at the beginning of a business that is still going strong. Below is a sample of his advice to the 1930's office worker. The office appears to have a machine for addressing letters but otherwise no technology as we know it...

The 100% Office 

How to use the present moment as it flits past – that is the eternal problem, for all ambitious workers want to make the best use of their lives. There is in reality no time but NOW.

Time, in itself, is nothing.Time is what you do with it. It is the raw material out of which we create ourselves, and the problem is to use ALL of it wisely - in work, sleep and recreation.

For this reason, therefore, to make better use of our time, we may use a stop-watch to good purpose.


After many experiments in various offices, we find that the following are fair standards of what ought to be done in one hour:

TYPING: 182 square inches from shorthand.

TYPING: 200 square inches from form letters.

ADDRESSING: 180 letters (3 lines.)

MACHINE ADDRESSING: 3600 letters (hand feed)

INCLOSING: 1200 Circulars





In the dictation of letters, a speed of 60 letters an hour has been reached but this is exceptional. A total of 150 letters a day is a large enough output. A typist who falls below 14 words a minute, as a steady all-day speed, is too slow. On short special jobs, a quick typist you should be able to type 38 words a minute.

If a typist has only 2% of errors, she is a learner, not a professional. In many offices, this percentage is quite common. Roughly speaking, this would be having one mistake in every two lines.

No worker should work at full speed for over three hours without a rest. The ideal way is to work full speed for nine minutes and then rest for one minute, but this is not practical.

Pugilists fight three minutes and rest one minute. Stonewall Jackson, whose army marched so quickly, taught his soldiers to march at high speeds for 50 minutes and then rest at full length for 10 minutes.

The main thing to remember is it is best to WORK HARD AND RELAX, then to dawdle and muddle through the day's work, without either speed or rest. Trance-workers, who drift sleepily through their jobs may sometimes be tolerated in a Works, but never in an Office.

Standardization pays the firm and workers, both. It prevents waste and errors and irritation. It takes much of the worry out of the work.

The American government paid £52,000 to a body of Efficiency Experts, for the standardizing of the Government Offices, and in the first year the total saving was £400,000...

By studying your job, in its smallest details, you can reach a high degree of skill. You can create a technique, just as a player does in any kind of sport

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