Trench Coat: An item of COVID Necessity

The feeling of fear immediately wells up inside you as you slowly open your long forgotten wardrobe door and contemplate what you will wear when you are finally allowed to return to the office following months of forced COVID-19 lockdown. Will any items of clothing in your extensive array of expensive corporate attire manage to contain your newly acquired casual and carefree body shape after weeks of continual psychological induced snacking?

Relax, as there is one item of clothing that every corporate professional must have in their possession that will protect your emotional esteem and sanity. It’s colloquially known as the Trench Coat, but for you, it will be your must-have body shape saviour and mental wellbeing protector.

Many of us know the Trench Coat via the famed Hollywood mystique associated with Humphrey Bogart who wore this mighty coat complete with a stylish Fedora peak brimmed hat. But, do we remember what he wore under his coat? The answer to this question being a definitive no, and why should we know, nor care?

Here in lies the charm of the Trench Coat with its tailored double-breasted format that nonchalantly flares to below the wearer’s knee hemline, complete with an array of buttons and impressive shoulder epaulettes.  

The Trench Coat is the perfect visual and environmental protector for any preying eyes that may seek to notice a slighter larger, and somewhat potentially plumper body lying within the constraints of the outer khaki fabric.

Many an office onlooker that does not possess such a grand and imposing coat will be totally oblivious to whatever clothing you may be wearing, or not wearing, under this outer garment, should this clothing be a tad too snug, or surreptitiously popping apart at the seams, or indeed absent. Yes, the Trench Coat will be the only item of clothing that their eyes seek and focus upon.

The Trench Coat is your everywhere coat. It protects your bodily shaped persona whilst you are travelling to and from work, and can even be worn with ease at your desk with the selective unclasping of one or two strategically placed buttons, complete with the mind assuring knowledge that at least one button still remains intact thereby keeping your pudgified body visually and masterly contained.  

For those fortunate employees that do have a Trench Coat unassumingly residing in your wardrobe, relax, as you can happily return to the corporate office with the calming knowledge that your COVID-19 embellished body is fully protected. But alas, if you don’t, now is the time to quickly buy a majestic Trench Coat before many an office worker reading this blog post makes a speedy dash to their local department store to seek and purchase this essential item of clothing.

The Circle of Obsolescence

“Come in, we have a spare seat over there”, said the Office Social Worker (OSW). There was a quiet rustling sound of plastic chairs on the beige vinyl floor tiles as space was quickly made available for their newest member. “Don’t worry, we have all experienced what you are going through, with time, the frustration will pass.” 

The Desk Phone took their allocated seat and sat rather forlornly with its handset’s flexible cable coiled in an unsightly knotted mess dangling with an uncaring manner next to the front right chair leg. One sudden jerk of the chair and the cable would have been quickly sliced in half, but the phone didn’t care.   

They all saw the look of pitiful redundancy on the Desk Phone’s face, some of them had reluctantly joined the Circle of Obsolescence (COO) only recently, others had been frequenting the meetings for decades, but their empathy was genuine and sympathetic.

It was now time for the OSW to start the COO meeting, their role being to facilitate a group discussion where each discarded and forgotten item of corporate office yesteryear would introduce themselves in turn and provide an individual life update.   

The Business Hat gleefully started the discussion. My friends of the COO, take heart as I was recently reading an article in the Italian edition of Vogue, and apparently fashion repeats itself, usually every fifteen years! It’s been a much longer time for me, but I’m convinced that I have already seen signs of a reinvigorated hat-life on many a corporate office worker’s head! I’m so convinced of this impending hat rebirth, that I’ve already given myself a detailed brushing down and sprucing in preparation for the occasion. 

I too have seen signs of this fashion trend, said the Business Shirt with an air of excitement in their voice. The other COO members all leaned forward in their chairs to listen. For many years now, I have been residing in a hermit-like manner in the darkest position in the clothes cupboard fighting off a relentless onslaught of preying silverfish and other unwelcome clothing vermin. As you can all see, I have a buttoned collar, slots for cuff-links, and a pocket strategically positioned over the wearer’s left breast. And guess what, you will never believe it, but I was actually worn yesterday!! The sound of sighs, shock and respect, gleefully permeated the room from all those seated. 

As soon as the Shirt had concluded, a rapid rustling of metal was heard in the base of the chair occupied by the Cufflinks who supported the assertions of the Shirt thereby adding credibility to their positive proclamation. 

This prompted the Neck-Tie, and even the Bow-tie, to quickly unravel in their chairs as they too sensed, and willed, their possible re-participation back into corporate office life. 

However, many other members of the COO continued to have a glum look on their faces as they regrettably knew that their days were numbered as technology, not fashion, had unfortunately passed them by. These chairs were occupied by the Blackberry phone, it’s cousin the Nokia, and now by the matriarchal Desk Phone. Some of them would survive as they resided alone on a cold, dusty, glass shelf in a museum, but for the rest, their longevity seemed doomed.

The eyes of the Business Shirt saw the look of despair on his long sitting technology challenged telephonic friends and tried to cheer them up with the following comment. “My COO friends, don’t despair. Fashion does repeat itself, but it also recycles those that were once deemed good and useful into something even better. Have no doubt, that you will all be reincarnated into an office item that is most worthy of your composition. It will happen to us all….one day.”

The OSW then closed the meeting and wondered, who next from the Corporate Office would attending, and how many chairs would be required? Time would tell.  

Sandals – Free your toes, and those ideas!







Yes, why don’t you put your weary corporate feet up on your desk and have a well-deserved rest. If you have done this, you will undoubtedly be experiencing that gleeful moment of soothing and calming bliss. And, should none of your work colleagues be looking, nor in close sensory proximity, surreptitiously remove your socks, or stockings, and free your corporately constrained toes. Once done, you will now be in a state of happy “pedibus” pleasure.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could maintain this toey enjoyment on a habitual basis, not one when you are made to feel like a foot rebel of non-corporate compliance?

You will be pleased to know that there is indeed a solution, one that is practical, is pleasing to the eye of those deemed to be astute, and meets the self-actualisation needs that your toes have been yearning for throughout your office working career.

The answer is called the “Sandal”.

Alas, many people walking the corridors of the corporate office do not have the courage to adorn this innovative fashion statement upon their feet for fear of unwarranted embarrassment or perceived ridicule. My response, how ridiculous! If you are a leader, you need to step up and put one bare toed foot in front of the other and claim your sandal wearing freedom.

Sandals are also the perfect foundation to support a culture of creativity and innovation. The spiffy sandal owner can wear a plethora of different coloured socks (even white), paint their toenails with voluminous vibrancy and choose from a range of chic sandal styles.

Those progressive corporate organisations that readily adopt this welcome addition to their corporate office wear will already be thinking about where to install the requisite foot podiatric self-cleansing units to maintain those basic psychological needs, that being an acceptable nice smelling working environment, in, and around, the employee’s desk.

Sandals are also the perfect complement to those wearing a stylish suit (perhaps safari), business shorts, paisley skirt, or even a kilt. Long or short socks are a choice left to the individual, but most instances, the naked foot is considered the optimum.

Think of the great leaders of yesteryear, many of which gladly wore and encouraged the wearing of sandals. I will admit that there are some impressive individuals that publicly didn’t, but when they got home, rumour has it that the first item of clothing to be immediately discarded were their uncomfortable shoes, quickly replaced with a soothing sandal.

Now for all those that have thoughts of achieving an innovative mindset, the answer is simple. You need to free your toes. Let them wiggle in harmony with all those ideas that have been bound and closeted in your mind for far too long. The choice is up to you, but do recognise that the wearing of the sandal provides the ideal catalyst, and one that you can quickly place upon your feet for everyone to see and appreciate.  

Neck Attire, Post COVID-19

Errol Flyn

That gleeful time is fast approaching when we will all be allowed to return to the corporate office, albeit subject to the ongoing COVID-19 rules of social distancing. However, I for one, will be pleased to look my fellow co-workers directly in their computer weary eyes, rather than via an impersonal electronic screen. I am so over the repetitive hourly ritual of video conference calls!

Yes, for the past couple of months, we have all been judiciously working from home, but it’s now time to joyfully open up your clothes wardrobe and to rediscover your forgotten corporate business attire. Do you remember those crisply ironed business shirts, ties, suits, cuff-links and polished leather shoes?

But let’s reflect on your appearance, one that I suspect has slowly morphed from that of a snappy, fashionable, stylish dresser, to that of a casual, rather haphazard, creature of home comfort. It is also likely that the concept of enclosing your unhindered neck with a business tie is furthest from your current Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in fact, you may have forgotten that well-practiced past art of manoeuvring the slender sewn fabric into a knot that miraculously resembled the legendary half, or full Windsor.

However, relax, as a fashionable alternative to the business tie is available to those that are authentic seekers of true neck freedom that accommodates the continued yearning for casualness following weeks of home incarceration.

The answer is the cravat.

This clever piece of clothing is ready and willing to fill the void on any business shirt wearer’s neck, be they male, or female. Besides looking decidedly eye-catching to any sophisticated observer, the cravat can be loosely tied, thereby giving the wearer that wanted feeling of lasting comfort.

The cravat has been in existence since the 16th century, and will undoubtedly continue for many more, which is not surprising considering its remarkable ability to complement the attire of any astute wearer.

So, as you prepare for your return to the corporate office, quickly go online, or into any clothing store of good repute, and purchase at least one cravat, and with time, you will quickly be a convert, and one that is deemed by your fellow workers to have impeccable fashion taste.

The Cohabitation Code of Bear Conduct

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I understand that you adults now need to spend time working from home, but let’s get things straight, there needs to be rules. For many years, we Teddy Bears have lived in peace and quiet whilst you grown-ups have gone to work and had a human life. Well, if we are going to spend more days together, or potentially weeks in close proximity, things need to change.

As such, we, your Teddy Bears have banded together and have developed a Cohabitation Code of Bear Conduct. If you don’t obey it, we will be leaving your household as we are immune to any virus, so the loser in this relationship will be you, not us!

Video Conferencing
There is no need to shout. From our comfortable abode of sitting centrally on your bed in between the pillows, we can hear everything you say, even with our paws covering our ears. So please use a normal indoor voice. Yes, the microphone on your computer is working.

Clothing
Pyjamas were designed as night time wear, not for use during the day. And for those of you that think that you are clever by wearing a business shirt on your top half, with a pyjama bottom under the desk, everyone knows what you are doing so the only fool in the room is you.

Teddy Bear Attire
Yes, we bears typically wear no clothes. We are comfortable in our nudity, particularly as we have “no private parts” to interfere with any gender identity. However, you humans need to think twice about copying our lack of clothing standards. What is acceptable in the corporate office must apply during the work day hours. We don’t care what you do in the evenings as is portrayed by the continual glazed look of neutral non-interest that we have carefully mastered after years of human behavioural observation.

Sneezing and Coughing
Teddy Bears don’t like baths, particularly soap. As such, we do not like being sneezed or coughed upon and request that you keep a handkerchief in close proximity at all times when you are working.

Throwing
We don’t mind sitting next to your work desk, in fact, we enjoy the social interaction, but please don’t throw us when we are accidentally seen by your computer camera during a video conference call. Everyone has a Teddy Bear, so relax, it’s OK for us to be seen, and we promise not to say anything that might undermine your professional standing with your colleagues.

So, if you want a happy life whilst working at home, the answer is indeed simple. Just follow these five Cohabitation Code of Bear Conduct rules and you and your Teddy Bear will get along just fine. We might even let you give us a hug, even if you break one of them by mistake, so everyone is a winner!

The Corporate Cubby House

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Should you be the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) of a large corporate organisation that has been tasked with the development of an innovation culture that is truly unique, and one that actually works, then just sit back in your comfortable, expensive leather desk chair as you already know the answer.

The solution is indeed simple. Just go back in time to when you were an adventurous, carefree and potentially naive eight year old who made a decision with your closest friends to build a cubby house.

In case the number of years from when you were eight has become slightly diminished with age, time, and tad too much requisite social sobriety, let me summarize the process that you may have followed.

The Plan
No, you did not have sufficient pocket money to engage a global consultancy organisation to make a vast array of recommendations for you, there were definitely no Powerpoint presentations, nor large committees, you and your mates just decided to do it.

The Selection Criteria
You looked upwards and identified the best tree that could provide you with sufficient height that your dog, little sister or brother, parents, and enemies could not physically assail without personal difficulty.  In CIO speak, these individuals could be classified as the competition.

Resources
This was your initial demonstration of innovation. At first glance, you had nothing, but with a bit of foraging through your parent’s workshops, gardens and potentially those of your neighbors (the term stealing never came into your vocabulary when you were eight), you had all that you required.

Construction
Yes, there was risk, there was failure, and some cuts and bruises, but with persistence you managed to build a structure way up high in the branches that met your immediate needs.

Evolution
As the cubby house fell apart with the passing of days, or as your group of trusted compatriots expanded in number, you found yourselves continually experimenting with new ideas, some driven by necessity (as the rain poured through an unsealed roof). However, the key is to remember how your innovation and creativity could never be extinguished, nor limited in any way, as there was always a solution to any problem.

Status Quo
Once the Cubby House had been in operation for a prescribed period of time (normally dictated by the end of the school holidays), you didn’t rest on your laurels, but you and your mates sought out other new and exciting challenges. You utilized your experience to build bigger and better structures, after all, you were eight, going on nine, and you had many ideas, and much mischief to make!
Now back to you, the CIO.

The solution: Just release those long standing corporate shackles of conservatism and visualize you at the age of eight, and all the innovation that you, and your organisation will ever need will be revealed.

Grey is Great

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For many a year now, many a woman, and some men, have deliberately disguised their prominent locks of grey with a variety of colours considered by society to be more youthful. These hairs may be located on their head, or on other parts of the body that are deemed public, or carefully concealed from a potentially judgemental view.

But for all those that habitually eradicate the grey, it’s time to break the habit and to let your years of follicular experience freely permeate into its grand, and long overdue fullness.

Grey has the mistaken perception of being neutral, boring and lacking colour and vigour. However, this is indeed a palate of naivety and ignorance. In fact, grey embellishes all the trials, tribulations and success associated with a lifetime of true innovation.

Consider the colour blue which has relished the joy of being linked to unhindered thought. Yes, blue provides a perception of boundless insights, but is it the common colour of hair choice in the corporate office? The answer being a resounding no.

Those employees with red hair are uniquely labelled as having certain distinctive personality traits that demonstrate vitality, fun and a willingness to try new experiences. If you have ever worked with a red head in your team, it will be a truly memorable experience and one that will be missed when absent.

The blonde (or yellow) haired co-worker has a range of attributes that exudes a range of desirable qualities which makes their presence a popular choice, so much so that they are synonymous with the term “blondes have more fun”.

Yes, the colours blue, red and yellow have all individually had their place for those that seek the attainment of creativity, as is seen by many an employee dabbling with a hair dye colour application that reflects this desire of follicle ownership.

But what happens if you combine all the knowledge contained within these three colours in equal proportions? The result is the colour grey. Yes, grey.

Grey hair is the colour that should be applauded as it signifies that this person readily portrays an accumulated knowledge base that would benefit any credible organisation.

So, should you be wanting to identify the innovative employees in your company, look for those that have the grey coloured hairs as they possess exactly what you are seeking.

Yes, Grey is Great.

 

Forget the Clean Desk Policy, Go Messy!

Albert Einstein office

For many years, employees in the corporate office have been told to have a clean desk at the end of their working day. However, for those numerous recalcitrants of unhindered mess that have deliberately not heeded the instruction, relax, as you are indeed the wise ones!

Yes, according to a soon to be prestigious university, in the not too distant future, some ground-breaking research will be remarkably discovered under copious reams of randomly scattered papers deeply buried on the Professor’s desk.

Although the handwriting will be a tad illegible, the key findings will be indisputable.

Finding 1: Dementia
A messy desk requires the owner to have a phenomenal memory in knowing exactly in which pile that unique piece of paper scribble written more than 6 months ago had been placed. A clean desk provides no such opportunity to test and improve your mental memory faculties.

Finding 2: Thinking Time
If you add up all the time that an employee wastes in tidying up their desk at the end of each day, you would immediately rescind the instruction. Messy employees are blessed with having additional time for strategic thinking by not wasting their valuable intellect in work distracting activities such as cleanliness.

Finding 3: The Purge
Those with a messy desk are not presented with the potential threat of discarding an important document on a daily basis. They have a more cunning and clever methodology where their entire desktop is typically purged on an annual basis. Afterall, if a paper hasn’t been touched once during that time period, then by default it can be deemed not important and can be happily placed in the recycle bin without any hesitation or doubt.

Finding 4: Security
Now this is the mistaken crux of the clean desk policy, that being, that an unwanted intruder won’t be tempted to steal a document that cannot be seen. But this is where the messy desk has a distinct advantage in that the patience of the industrial spy will be tested to the point of severe frustration as they willingly give up searching for that prized paper gem, owing to the severe lack of order and ingeniously unfathomable filing system.

Now when you add all these four masterly findings together, the true source of the research is disclosed, that being innovation. Yes, if you want to promote an innovation mindset in your corporate office, you should actively encourage mess.

Yes, mess is indeed the best.

 

For Seekers of Sleep

Tired lady napping on airplane.

For those that have recently travelled on a long-haul flight in what is dis-affectionately known as “Regrettable Class” (RC), or more commonly classified as “Economy”, you will vividly appreciate the nerve-wrecking perils associated with the simple act of trying to go to sleep.

Unlike those First or Business Class passengers snuggly residing in their seats of decadence where they can nonchalantly stretch out to quickly achieve a state of blissful slumber, the hapless RC traveller enjoys has no such luxury.

These sleep disadvantaged people who make of the bulk of the passengers, reside well at the back of the plane, strategically out of sight of those with the larger and more comfortable seats. Those with the RC allocated Boarding Pass must endure hours of slumber torment before they can eventually stagger off the aircraft in their unwelcome zombie state.

Now should you be the CEO of a large international airline fleet, I would suggest you take notice as the following comments may alleviate an array of potential lawsuits that may soon be coming your way. In the world of equal human rights, the plane may indeed be the last bastion of inhumane class demarcation, particularly when it comes to the parity of sleep.

The RC Seat
Should you be a contortionist, the painfully narrow RC seats provided will ensure your complete satisfaction. However, if you reside in the other 99.99% of the world’s population, you will be greatly disappointed. To put it bluntly, after being reluctantly strapped into these seats for 17+ hours, a jagged boulder is decidedly more enticing to your gluteus maximus and will provide a far greater opportunity for restful slumber.
To make matters worse, the seats are not evenly balanced, so one bottom cheek is never in vertical harmony with the other which can lead to other potential problems, particularly after consuming a tad too many meals.
Following many thousands of years of practical research, mankind seems to agree that the best method for attaining a successful sleep is to lay down in the horizontal position which might explain the phenomenal design success of the bed. But, for some strange reason, airlines like to awkwardly strap the RC passenger into a slender fitting seat with the economic knowledge that they just know better.

The Snorer
Now should the RC passenger actually manage to beat the extremely one-sided odds positioned against them and do mysteriously achieve an unexpected hour of exhaustion induced sleep, there is always the loud snorer who abruptly ends the long-awaited erratic experience.
Yes, it’s time for those that snore to be placed into an isolated soundproof section of the plane where they can expel those noisy audible tones in reckless cacophony. As a suggestion, this could be near the lavatories where they could compete with the explosive air gust vacuum thud of the onboard toilet flush.

The Solution?
If you have ever travelled in a submarine, the answer is obvious, that being, the bunk. Just think about the advantages, the most obvious one being the horizontal aspect which happily facilitates and encourages sleep.
A sleeping RC passenger will also require less food, mainly because they are contently unconscious.
Bunks would also assist with space optimisation, complete with the added benefit of providing greater social interaction for those who like to engage with other like minded passengers in an array of mutually agreeable activities.

So, should you be an RC passenger reading this blog post, may I suggest that you participate in your preferred choice of social media and ask your habitually flown airline to consider the above suggestions (in my instance, Qantas). And who knows, maybe one day in the not too distant future, RC class will no longer be the trepidation of any sleep seeking traveller?

Sweet dreams.

 

It just feels so Good!

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It just feels so good! Yes, it’s that glorious sensation you experience when eagerly opening that pristine door for the very first time as your nose is gleefully engulfed with those joyous automotive wofts associated with that new car interior. The exciting mood continues as you place your eagerly awaiting bottom into that virgin seat with the knowledge that you are indeed the first. You run your hands in a circular motion, anticlockwise, then clockwise, as you gingerly grip the steering wheel with each of your probing fingers where you slowly discover every notch and groove. Out on the road, you smile with snug satisfaction as all parts of the car work in harmonious unison as you carefully navigate the surrounding traffic with a self-imposed mode of cautious stealth. The feeling lasts for an unmeasured while, and then without notice, unfortunately, stops. You have now reached the stage of habitual blaséness where that initial feeling of excitement has regrettably diminished into nothingness. It’s now just a car.

Many an innovative organisation initially commence their operations with that “new car feeling”, but alas, over time, and particularly with success, that blasé nonchalant state gradually permeates throughout the structure leading to creative stagnation. So, what’s the solution?

Think of that car again, but this time focus on all the scheduled, and the occasional unplanned maintenance that is required to keep it humming in a state of perpetual driving bliss. This can take the form of mechanical, structural or aesthetic adjustments, all are required, and need ongoing investment, otherwise it ends up doomed on the scrap heap soon to be forgotten.

Innovation needs ongoing investment to stimulate and maintain the creative machinations of the business. All departments working in the organisation need to finely tuned, continually aligned, and supplemented with that combustible spark of ideation, otherwise it will slowly come to a resistant state of undesirable lethargy. However, sometimes an organisation needs to trade in the old ways of doing business and upgrade to a newer and more inspirational model. If so, don’t be scared to let your employees experience that wonderful new car smell, particularly as some of the newer ones may have never savoured that joy, and those longer serving ones, well, they may need a strong nasal refresher!

So if you want to maintain that ongoing pleasant innovation woft in your business, make sure you keep it well maintained and stimulated, otherwise, you might as well get a horse and get used to a slower, and rather more odorous form of reduced creativity.

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