The Holiday Room

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I must admit I felt a tad apprehensive to be lying semi-naked in my allocated room in the corporate office, but thankfully the door was firmly shut so no one could come in and spy me in my non-professional private state of personal relaxation. The temperature warmly caressing my body was a welcome 30 Celsius, outside the climatic elements were a freezing 10 degrees below which quickly alleviated any nanosecond potential thought of partial nudity in that environment.

The booking time remaining before my experience of quiet solace was to come to an abrupt end was indicated by the petite clock on the wall, that being, only 28 minutes. As such, I nonchalantly rolled over and let another part of my tired body savour the “Holiday Room” experience.

Yes, I was working in rather an innovative office where the employee can book a meeting room and escape from the pressures and pain of their stressful daily working regime. These unique office rooms are called “Holiday Rooms” and can be booked like any other meeting room for a one hour period via the employee’s electronic Outlook diary. Why a “Holiday Room”? Well, for those employees that can’t afford to take time off to have a real holiday owing to being deemed too busy, or important, this option provides a welcome interim solution!

How does it work? It’s simple. The employee just has to book the room, and then program the room to their desired temperature. Once selected, the room springs into the corresponding ambient solution mode and immediately sets up the requisite props to make the experience much more meaningful and relaxing.

For those employees that like the heat, once the temperature request had been accepted by the booking system, on arrival they would be pleasantly provided with a comfortable sunbed, a tube of SPF30 sunblock, wading pool (maximum depth of 0.5 metres to ensure no safety incidents, complete with two plastic floating penguins that squeak), sand pit (with shells, seaweed, bucket and spade), protective dark sunglasses and a booming sun-lamp. A discrete non-alcohol cocktail can also be purchased for a modest fee.

Now should an employee book a temperature which necessitates ice particles quickly coating the walls and floor, then the “Holiday Room” instantaneously initiates the “Mountain Chalet” mode where a spiffy coloured snug fitting ski suit, leather gloves, blazing open fire, thick floor rugs, recycled plastic reindeer and fake fur growling black bears all automatically appear, complete with a micro-mist of delightfully fragrant pine tree odour that majestically permeates the chilled air cooling system. As expected, a discrete non-alcoholic hot toddy is also available, personally delivered by a neutral concierge of your choice.

Of course, there is an array of many other creative options available for the “Holiday Room” depending on the variety of tastes and cultures of the employees residing in your corporate office.

How many employees can occupy a “Holiday Room” at the same time? A good question, but owing to some very wise preventative corporate HR policies, the answer is only one. If you require a room with more than one occupant, then it is suggested that you explore other options well away from the office, and on your own time.

Now if your office doesn’t yet have a “Holiday Room”, fortunately there is a simple solution. That being, Ask.

These Feet are on My Beach!

Miina

Old speedos and my faded blue seersucker shirt were not the appropriate choice of clothing for my daily 5 AM walk along the beach this morning. I was feeling decidedly cold, windblown and wet, but I wouldn’t have changed it for all the money in the world (well, maybe for $2M I could be swayed?). These magical moments alone on the beach were my time for quiet solitude where I could consider life, the universe, and those things really important to me (like what to have for breakfast?). However, this particular morning, I was not alone!

Yes, my private thoughtful beach sojourn had been violated by the presence of another person’s feet. I could see the evidence of their self-righteous, pompous, egocentric footprints in the sand! How dare they, I thought, this was my beach! After a few minutes my annoyance began to decline (mainly because I was freezing) and my mind started to ponder the identity of this mysterious and cheeky individual.

On looking at their footprints, I could determine that it was a slender foot, most likely that of an adult, but I couldn’t tell their age, sex, nor whether they might be an interesting person to engage with in a constructive dialogue. But, I needed to know why they were on my beach, at my sacred time in the morning, so I decided to follow the footprints and track them down. I was in luck as the waves had not erased the foot trail of evidence. I was on a mission now and my walking speed increased, particularly as I could just make out a figure in the distance wearing a red bathing costume and a bright matching red beanie. I started to run as I was now nearing the owner of those feet. However, as I was drawing significantly nearer, I immediately stopped as I thought I may have the appearance of a depraved minimalist fashion beach stalker and could be a tad frightening for those you didn’t know me. I was so close, yet so far from the origin of those footprints!

But then, the owner of the feet turned around, paused, sighted my beach attire and walked straight to me! I froze and the next thing I heard was “Good morning, great morning for a walk. Do you come here often? My name is Susan by the way.” For the next 30 minutes we got to know each other as we shared our common like for the beach and other topics of mutual interest (including breakfast).

I was so pleased that I had explored those footprints and not just blankly looked at them as I focused on my private walk of thought that morning. Unfortunately, we are often too absorbed in our own personal affairs to take the time to explore new events and unknown people around us. Sometimes, it takes effort, persistence and a lot of work to seek out these new experiences, but it will most definitively benefit you, and the other owners of the footprints you encounter.

Go on, give the exploration of “new feet” a go!

Business Basics: Beach, Balls, Bats and Bathers

A family plays beach cricket at Byron Bay

As you stroll along many Australian seaside beaches in summer you are bound to come across a group of people playing cricket on the sand. The official name for this game is “Beach Cricket”.

The customary uniform for Beach Cricket is typically minimal and encompasses a range of different coloured and sized speedos, bikinis, hats, sunglasses and the frequent application of sunblock. The rules will vary depending on beach locality and the skill set of the players, but for that optimum scoring opportunity, a large hit by the batsman into the sea normally provides the best result!

There is usually no participant exclusion to the game as with more people, the easier it is to play, particularly when fielding the ball on the soft hot sand in your bare feet. Those wanting to play do not need a formal invitation. The accepted custom is to simply walk up and ask “Can I join in and play?” The response is unquestionably “Yep, sure thing, just take a fielding position out in the sand, or sea”. I personally like the sea, as it provides the maximum opportunity for extreme laziness, body cooling and water flotation!

The game may last for hours, or until the ball is absconded by a passing dog frolicking on the sand, but the result is a great time for all.

If we look at the game of Beach Cricket from a corporate office perspective there are some important strategic learnings.

In Beach Cricket there are no exclusions, cliques or private groups that filter member participation. Each new player is welcomed regardless of whether their skill set is minimal or vastly experienced. So why not have this same employee involvement philosophy in business? Is it that we are too self conscious to join in, or too scared that we may “drop the ball”, or are we a little too selective about having the “right” people” in our work team?

As with Beach Cricket, when people feel welcome and valued regardless of their ability, they tend to enjoy the team spirit, the sense of belonging and throw themselves into the required objective (which occurs quite literally when fielding the ball on the sand and in the water) with an unrestricted level of enthusiasm. Many of the team participants may discover some hidden talents when provided with the opportunity “to play”, others may watch and learn from the more experienced and skilled members of the team, either way, the result is beneficial to all.

So next time your office work team starts to have that all too familiar “dysfunctional look”, may I suggest you grab a ball, a cricket bat and head for the beach! If your team is located in the cooler climates, you are allowed to swap the swimming bathers for some more suitable and warmer clothing attire, and if the ball is hit deliberately into the cold ocean water, may I suggest the cheeky batsman be ruled as out and they be asked to field the ball themselves!

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