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Ode to a Kettle - How We're All Kitchen Equipment in Small Business

19/03/2014 11:53 GMT | Updated 18/05/2014 10:59 BST

As an employee, I have to admit I've never considered myself to be like a piece of kitchen equipment. It just never occurred me to 'boil' down everything into gadget form. Neither did it occur to me how vitally important this one kitchen item is. I hadn't considered before how lost the office would be without the kettle but, quite frankly, work would stop.

As a small business owner as well, I know the importance of giving the world a good face. The importance of someone who I can depend on to always be the kettle. I'm not sure I'd reduce my staff down to kettles but I can also see how someone like this would be vital to an office. In the business my husband and I run, without a kettle I cannot imagine anyone getting through the morning, let alone a whole day. The kettle is possibly the hardest working piece of equipment in the whole office. Not sure we have someone who qualifies as a kettle personality though.

At the office I know we have a kettle personality, I'm pretty sure we have a stand mixer personality as well as a frying pan personality ;-) But I'd never reduce them to these objects as everyone is an onion really - many layers. Or should that be everyone is an opera cake?

The new video series from Hiscox is meant to be celebrating the small business owner. My husband and I have been small business owners since 1996 and so I picked up on Hiscox trying to get the word out to us through this video series. Am I a kettle? I'm pretty friendly and I'd like to think I pick people up and help them power through the afternoon. Kettles as equipment and as personality seem to be part of what makes a small business tick - certainly ours.

The blurb for the video actually reads" ... pays homage to the little things that make a big difference in the life of small business owners.

"The first video in the series -- 'Ode to kettle' -- celebrates the beloved kettle. As you rush through another busy day of work, the kettle is with you every step of the way; it's the first thing you reach for in the morning, it's the thing that picks you up during the tough times or when you need a little break."

Is this really about a kettle or is it a member of staff who is like a kettle? Are we meant to think that to the small business owner the kettle is foundational? I've faced a lot of challenges as a small business owner: an audit; post office postal rate changes including weight and size changes; problems with disastrous courier companies including losing stock to a van being stolen and a fire at a depot; someone trying to sue us; and so much more. It's not easy being a small business owner at all. I know our kettle is core and that a kettle personality is also important for surviving the day when 10 packages come back undelivered and you need to ring everyone but the phone is broken and someone turns up early for a meeting.

I'm also not clear on the message behind turning staff into inanimate objects. That seems a little bit weird and as a feminist, possibly slightly wrong though there is no implicit or explicit gender stereotyping that I could tell from the video. I'm pretty sensitive to that and I don't get it but perhaps some of you will.

I worry sometimes that in moving to pull things down to a lowest common denominator we implicitly pass on gender stereotypes. If you take a look at the video, let me know in the comments below if you feel that this video implicitly reinforces any gender stereotypes.

Overall, ya kettles are important but people are complex. I value my staff for who they are, not what kitchen equipment they remind me of ;-)