There’s a Bear in The Office

Office Workers, have you noticed that someone is missing from your home, and has been for quite a few months? 

Yes, whilst you have been subjected to ongoing lockdowns and government edicts where you are commanded to work from home owing to COVID, we, your furry stuffed friends have been having a hoot of a time! And, I suspect that with all the mess you have effortlessly created in your home work environment, you would be none the wiser and have just assumed that somewhere, lying patiently for you under yet another pile of clothes is your well-loved Teddy Bear. Well, you are most definitely wrong!

Truth be told, we went to where you were not, that being your office. What a paradise! We also can’t understand why any human would frequently use that common phrase so often heard when they arrived back home after work, “I’m glad that day is over”! What bollocks! You humans don’t know just how lucky you are, and, unfortunately for you, so now do we. 

Your office is really a large Fun House, one that fully captures the innovative imagination of many a Teddy Bear who is looking for adventure and a creative outlet following many years of sitting stationary in a lonely bedroom or shelf. 

However, we do have some gripes and would like to bring these to your urgent attention.  

Gripe 1: Elevators
The elevator buttons are just too high. As a Teddy Bear with a full six inches of height, I cannot reach any of the buttons, regardless of high I jump. I’ve also tried standing on the shoulders of my fellow Teddy Bears, but to no avail. The result is walking up many flights of stairs, and with time, and friction, our paws will become rather straggly and dirty, and no bears likes that, let me assure you.

Gripe 2: Desks
We Teddy Bears desperately need an access ladder that enables your furry friend to effortlessly scale up to the desk top where we can flick on the computer switch to access Spotify, YouTube and other bear recreational pursuits. And whilst we are talking computers, could you get the IT Department to unblock some sites, the lack of access is really quite unbearable.

Gripe 3: Bathroom
Talking of things being too high, you know what I mean, don’t you!

But there are indeed some positives, so don’t think that we Teddy Bears see the glass as half empty all the time (btw, my apologies to the CEO, his precious crystal glass strategically positioned on his desk was regrettably knocked over in a game of table soccer, however, it was a stunning goal!). 

Positive 1: Desk Chairs
Once you get the momentum up with a spinning desk chair, it’s just like a merry-go-round. However, we found that there is a terminal spin threshold, once above it, no Teddy Bear can hold on and bears can then indeed fly!

Positive 2: Corridors
These are typically carpeted, which are perfect for our paws. They are wide and long. The ideal setting for a game of cricket, carpet bowls, or other games for recreational bear pursuits.

Positive 3: No Humans
Need I say anymore!

So my dear human. There are some good things from COVID, the most important one being that you are at home, and we are in your vacant office. I know that you will return one day, but until then, Teddy Bear life is bliss!

The Male COVID Head-Garden

For any creative men reading this blog post that have been forced into yet another COVID-19 lockdown, you may have run out of innovative ideas to keep yourself fully occupied whilst you are homebound.

Yes, all men are different, but as all families know, particularly those of the female persuasion, men need to have a different project for each COVID-19 home confinement, and one that entertains them for at least 24 hours in the day, otherwise, they go stir crazy!

Relax, and use your male head as therein lies the answer that you desperately seek, the solution being, to grow your own individual “head-garden”.

Like any garden, a head-garden needs to be planned, cultivated and requires continual maintenance in order to ensure an optimum hair foliage outcome. The follicle growth resides deep within the incumbent DNA structure of every man, and uniquely flourishes with their varying levels of male testosterone in a variety of potent fertiliser concentrations. The result being that no male head-garden is ever the same.  

Now to get started, your need a plan, as your head-garden won’t happen overnight, but it will happen, as any hairy man will attest.

Most men’s heads are blessed with a full range of potential garden plots as hairs sprout forth from a plethora of locations, that being on top of the head, face, eyebrows, ears and nostrils. Some hair plots do struggle if the testosterone levels are too high, but other man areas seem to compensate in order to maintain the desired follicle equilibrium.

The planning decisions are quite simple and are easily ploughed via the use of a sharp razor, or its lack of application where hairs can frequently grow wild. Once the geometric head-garden has been agreed, the man just needs to let nature take its course as the hairs will quickly and effortlessly propagate. Over the torturous days of lockdown, the hairs will bud out and take the intended form, just as man desired.

However, men can assist their head garden growth via the strategic application of numerous moisturisers, conditioners and shampoos, so as to encourage strong follicular growth. Personal scents and tonics can also be splashed onto any hairless exposed facial areas to add bespoke features to the head-garden personalisation.

Alas, with all COVID-19 lockdowns, they do eventually come to an end. At this point, the man now has to make a decision prior to his long awaited return to the corporate office, that being to keep the head-garden, or to slash and weed it. This is a tough man choice as he would have nurtured his head-garden with love and respect over the time of home incarceration.

The recommended solution is to take a head-garden photo, and to then enter it into your local council garden club competition for posterity. But don’t let your work colleagues see it, as each male head-garden is strictly for your own lockdown enjoyment, and men can get a tad too jealous.  

Rediscovering your Office Post COVID-19







When that momentous day finally arrives and you are allowed to legally reacquaint yourself with your long forgotten COVID-19 free office of old, will you be prepared for the emotional experience?

You, and many of your colleagues, may become teary, or not cope with the prospect of actually leaving that safe and hygienic home fortress of your private abode that has protected you from the pandemic onslaught for the past few months.

Now before you step into your car, or on to your preferred mode of public transport, here are some helpful tips to support you on your office journey.

Office Amnesia
Many of you may have forgotten where you actually work and have no idea on how to get there? Relax, as this common condition is known as “Office Amnesia” and you are not alone with this conflicting malady. The prescribed solution is to find one of your old business cards, one that has your name on it, and not one of the many Uber Eats promotional cards that you have accumulated over your weeks of home captivity. Now find your work address, enter the location into Google Maps, and be prepared to follow it without any creative deviation.  

Buttons
Once you have arrived at work, some of you may need to locate a vertically moving metal cubicle to reach the lofty heights of your office. With time, the word “Elevator” will indeed re-emerge into your vocabulary. I’m conscious that the majority of you will have been confined to a single or double story house, or apartment, but don’t be too perturbed about having to travel into the upper regions, you used to do it all the time and experienced no ill altitude related physical effects, in fact, some of you used to actually fly on business! (Note: you do need to press the illuminated numbers on the elevator wall in order to commence your ascension)

Desk
On arrival at your desk, you may still need to wear your face mask. Not due to COVID-19, but owing to the large accumulation of office dust and other residual muck that could be a potential health hazard. This visually annoying dust build up will be more discernible for those of you that partake in the “clean desk policy”, however, for those employees that adhere to the “mess is best” methodology, you will be none the wiser.

Coffee
As you will no longer have the option of disguising your lack of work productivity via the use of Zoom, Webex or Teams video-conferencing where you could speedily turn your camera off or on, complete with a background of visual stimulation, you will now need to muster a cleverly crafted facial look of concentration from at least 8:30 AM to 5 PM. To accomplish this forgotten feat, you will strategically need to locate the coffee machine with military precision, or a nearby café that is not full to the brim with those needing a welcome retreat from the tiring corporate environment.  

Home Time
Although you couldn’t wait to get back to the corporate office, once 5 PM arrives, you will be busting with fatigue to make it home so you can rapidly disrobe in private and re-familiarise yourself with those comfy trackie pants that you have lived in for months (Note: unlike trackie pants, a suit or skirt does need to be hung on a coat hanger in order to avoid creasing).

So, my corporate office colleagues, by closely adhering to these tips, you will be prepared for your first day back in the office. However, don’t forget that you need to do this for 5 days (Monday to Friday). It is not a once off random event, but your job!

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.

The Friday Free Job Day

musical-chairs

According to a fictitious survey in the Australian Financial Review, I work for one of the most innovative companies in Australia, and I know why!

One of the activities that differentiates my company from our competition, is a highly anticipated employee event that occurs without fail on the last Friday of the month. No, it’s not allowing staff to wear casual clothes (which happens weekly anyway – see rules below), it’s our Friday Free Job Day (FFJD).

So what is this FFJD and how does it work you may ask?

Well, it’s surprisingly simple, and the process has produced some remarkable process improvements, but more importantly, a truly dynamic and progressive culture of innovation within our company.

At precisely 6 PM on the last Thursday night of the working month, each employee is sent an SMS that advises them what job they will be doing the following day so they can dress, and mentally prepare accordingly. For instance, I might be advised that I will be the CEO, the CFO, the Marketing Director, the Head of HR, or the Office Manager, just to name a few. When I arrive at my allocated office on the Friday morning, the actual person fulfilling that job has vacated their office and has left me a list outlining the 5 biggest challenges hindering them in their role. My task for that day is to explore ideas that address, and potentially solve the 5 outlined issues. At the conclusion of the day, I leave my ideas of solution on their desk for them to review, consider and to explore further when they arrive at work on Monday morning.

Through the use of a fresh set of eyes, the results have been staggering, but more importantly, the positive impact on employee morale has been phenomenal.

Another derived benefit of the FFJD process is that each employee gains a greater insight into how the business operates, and how their role impacts those around them.

So for those companies that think Casual Friday is a sign of your corporate innovation brilliance, think bigger, try the Friday Free Job Day once a month and the results achieved will happily surprise you.

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Commandments for Casual Friday Attire:
https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/commandments-for-casual-friday-attire/

The Scenic Desk

Mobile-Office-1961

You have all had that feeling, it’s 3 PM in the afternoon and your motivational levels are starting to rapidly decline. Your coffee intake is becoming dangerously high, so much so that your tastebuds have now maxed out on caffeine, and you are worried that one more cup consumed will definitely impede any potential sleeping opportunities that evening. Your eyelids are closing heavily under an unknown and dreaded forced hypnotic influence as they encourage you to place your head surreptitiously on your desk and initiate an inconspicuous state of slumber.

However, relax, you don’t need to worry about this unwanted physical eventuality, as your corporate office is equipped with the latest afternoon motivational technique, that being, the “scenic desk”.

Yes, at precisely 9 AM each morning, your desk, like all the others in your office, start their journey of scenic transition that takes exactly 8 hours to complete. The process starts with the application of a quiet, yet highly powerful high velocity air current that lifts each desk (and the matching chair) an inconspicuous 5 millimetres above the floor. By cleverly changing the angle of these air currents, each office worker’s desk can be propelled in a forward, backward or sideways trajectory. An inbuilt desk computer developed by “Google Desks” charts a unique journey that traverses the entire corporate office to ensure a different, and enthralling desk experience every day, and one that naturally avoids any possible desk collision.

Following extensive R&D testing at a soon to be prestigious Melbourne University, the speed of desk movement has been calibrated at a most comfortable 2 kilometres/hour so as to alleviate any projectile g-forces that may fling the desk occupant, or items loosely residing on the desk surface, in an uncontrollable and dangerous manner. However, for those office workers that don’t worry about the residual side effects of windblown hair, or are particularly bored at work, their desk velocity can be tweaked to much higher levels (following the requisite completion of a personal liability disclaimer issued by their HR Manager). There is also a special office “ejection option” feature that can be used for those recalcitrant employees that utilises a camouflaged sound-proof one-way exit system.

Once the desk movement activity progresses, the desk owner will be enthralled as they meander with gleeful curiosity throughout the corporate office. Any thoughts of feeling tired, or exhausted, will quickly mentally evaporate as they experience new visual aspects and encounter different work colleagues along their scenic desk journey.

Like clockwork, at precisely 5 PM, their desk will arrive back at the original office location ready for the worker’s timely departure, but with them now brandishing a totally refreshed and visually inspired mindset.

So should you experience that unwelcome sensation of mental boredom, don’t reach for another coffee, just send an E-mail to your HR Manager lobbying for your corporate office to purchase the “scenic desk” system. It will change your office environment forever!

Working from Home

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It’s 8:29 AM and I’m still not dressed for that important customer presentation that I’m making in one minute. No problem, I think my new dark grey suit with the white shirt and spiffy gold cufflinks will indeed do the trick! Yep, with a simple “click” it’s achieved and I look quite professionally impressive, even if I do say so myself!

Now for that lunchtime catch-up with the girlfriend. This suit is far too abundant in clothing for that rendezvous. For this interaction, a much more informal and seductive look is most definitely required. Arrh yes, “clothing outfit #37” is the choice. I look quite good, but my hair, it needs to be a tad longer. One “click” later, the job is done. Hang on, did I just notice my girlfriend’s dress change length? Whatever, she still looks great, not sure about the colour of those stockings though, a bit different, but I’m sure I will get used to in the short term.

Damn. I forgot about my meeting with the boss, which is right in the middle of my lunch date. All good though, I will just replicate myself, put my duplicate in a conservative looking suit and tie, and then in a highly focussed manner communicate with her at the scheduled time, whilst continuing my much more important girlfriend interaction (both of which will be none the wiser!).

It’s now 4 PM and time for my brainstorming session with my work colleagues. For this interaction, I think I might become 6’ 5” tall, add a few pounds to my weight and grow a straggly beard. Might even change my name for additional effect! That should test them a tad.

5 PM. Phew. What a day! I’m exhausted and these pyjamas that I’m wearing are feeling a little bit too loose and shabby. I might put a different pair on for tomorrow’s business activities. However, this working from home via an avatar and computer simulated virtual meeting room does have it’s benefits, and I don’t need to travel to a proper corporate office.

IM to Self: Might go to the gym tonight, my real avatar is starting to look a little bit too rotund for my liking!

 

Framing Your Office Correctly

Paris & London 2011 922

When walking around an art gallery you will see a variety of different people mulling in front of an oil painting making all kinds of comments. Each of them will see different aspects of the painting and will make their own interpretation as to the artistic and messaging intentions of the painter.

Some observers will focus on colour, the scene portrayed, or potentially the interaction of the people encapsulated in the work of art, and what they may be thinking or experiencing.

The viewer’s analysis of the painting will be varied, with each opinion based on their own unique life experiences that have coloured their thoughts and imagery on life.

This got me thinking. What if you took a random, non-staged photograph of the workers in your office that captured a specific moment in their working day? This image could be black and white, or coloured, placed in an impressive frame and then hung on a wall, just like in an art gallery.

So as to avoid any potential bias and insider people knowledge, employees from a non-related business would then be asked to comment as to photographer’s intentions, just like the painter of the oil canvas.

Those observing would come up with a range of assumptions and theories, some of which could be related to the work culture, stress, mood, or happiness of those people contained within the “frame”.

The collective feedback would provide a unique and objective insight into the machinations of your office. However, in this instance, the painter, or photographer, is your CEO, as this role is the creative source of the scene. Depending on the critical comments received, is your CEO proud to sign their name in the bottom right corner of the painting to stamp their ownership of the work? If not, maybe they would prefer to learn from the feedback and use it to develop and fine-tune their management artistry skills and have another go?

Yes, a picture does indeed say a thousand words. The key is to listen to them.

It’s the Stalk

A French Guy Really Wearing a Beret

Over the centuries there has been one grand piece of clothing that has been worn by many a mighty warrior that immediately symbolises unity of nationality, pride and belonging. These illustrious fighting men and women, be they French, Spanish, or Scottish, all wore this famous and readily identifiable hat called the beret in various styles, colours and forms.

Today, it is still worn as a statement of artistic intellect, or by those who want to make a statement of fashion, or simply by those people who just know better than others. I, for one, happily wear my beret and relish the admiring glances of those around me who are obviously most envious of my beret ownership good fortune.

There is something unique about wearing a beret, which needs to be done with a slight skew placement upon your head, so as to achieve the correct appearance. But once done, there is a “feeling” that permeates your thinking. Those who have had this beret wearing experience will immediately relate to this comment.

As a “thought academic”, following “years” of extensive research, I believe I have now formed a beret hypothesis on the origins of this “feeling”.

The “research” suggests that this “feeling” is concentrated when many wearers are in close proximity. This could explain why those warriors of yesteryear were such a formidable force when they all wore their berets together in military formation? With the advent of the more safe and bulletproof soldier headgear, the frequency of beret use understandably diminished, as such, so did the “feeling”. It is also interesting to note, that the French, Spanish and Scottish armed forces are no longer as feared to the same extent as they used to be, surely this is “no coincidence”?

Now let’s move to another area of the “feeling” research. Those in the artistic fields, for example the French Impressionists, or Film Directors, all have reported an additional influx of creativity when wearing their berets. Yes, it’s all in the “research”.

But there was a most surprising and curious theory identified that the “research” almost overlooked. Apparently the origin of this “feeling” is due to the small stub in the top centre of the beret called the “stalk”. It just so happens that this stalk acts like a thought transmitter between beret wearers. The longer the stalk, the greater the range of the thought transfers! A truly phenomenal discovery!

Now should you be an innovative thinker, you will immediately recognise the practical application with this “stalk” discovery for the corporate office. Yes, the answer is simple; all employees should be encouraged to wear a beret, particularly those with long stalks. Once worn, I’m sure that your organisation’s ability to develop new and novel business ideas will increase exponentially. There will also be a supplementary benefit, that being, all your employees will look brilliant!

Try using these WORDS!

I stopped in my tracks and said, “You look absolutely gorgeous!”. I walked on another ten feet, stopped again, turned around and said, “You really do, I mean it!”

Twenty seconds earlier, three woman, who I’d never met before, walked out of the clothing store onto the footpath and stopped in front of me. One of them, dressed in a green tightly body hugging winter jacket, asked her close friends for their opinion; “Do you really like the coat?”. Before they could answer, I made my initial comment of genuine positive affirmation, which I repeated without hesitation a few seconds later. The smile on her face was ecstatic and her friends laughed with gleeful intent. If I had lingered a moment longer and not continued my ‘walk of thought’, I’m sure my new ‘best friends’ would have invited me to lunch!

There is a moral here for the corporate office. How often do we compliment our colleagues with constructive reinforcement of their behaviour, their manner, a risk they may have taken, or how they dress? I suspect not that often?

Why not?

Many offices these days have become rather sterile environments where only ‘approved’ comments of corporate acceptance prevail. To demonstrate the point, how many organisations have implemented the corporate branded ‘Thank You’ card which you are encouraged to complete, then hand to HR, who then distribute it to the nominated individual some days, or weeks, later after the words have been vetted for any corrupt intentions!

Let’s explore this further and consider a highly functioning sports team. What is the key to their success? Nothing too complicated, really, it’s just called ‘talking’.
But, those involved ‘talk’ with ‘words’ of encouragement where they compliment each other on what they did well, or provide words on impending danger from the opposition, or give words of constructive criticism. The words of feedback tend to be immediate, or whilst the game is fresh in the minds of those involved.

So why not give it a go in your corporate office? If you are a tad timid to praise a colleague publicly, then use an E-mail or an SMS, but make sure it has your name on it as this personalised message of word positivity is much more powerful than words of anonymity and will mean much more to the recipient. Make praise a habit, and I’m sure that you and those around you will benefit greatly from the word experience.

And if that gorgeous woman in the green coat is reading this blog post, yes, I’m still available for lunch, just send me the “words”!

Image: Sophiaclothing