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.  

The Benefits of Fog in the Office

Late night fog

It’s a marvelous experience going for a walk in the early hours of the morning when it’s dark and more importantly when there is a fog.

The fog provides an eerie and very different environment for us to appreciate as we reconcile our senses with the noticeable changes in our limited ability to see and hear.

One morning whilst recently relishing my morning fog perambulation, I recognized that many sounds that I would normally hear quite distinctly had a rather muffled tone, in fact, it was as if I was walking in a sound vacuum.

This was a “eureka moment” for solving one of the biggest issues in the open plan office, that of the “private conversation”!

The innovative solution is to have an array of fine water mist nozzles strategically placed above each employee’s workstation. When they want to have a conversation which they don’t want to share with their surrounding work colleagues, a button would be pressed on their desk that would initiate the release of the mist that would encapsulate the employee and muffle their voice. It would be just like having your own fog!

For those who want a personalized fog, a distinctive colour or scent, could be added to the mist to provide a tailored signature above their workstation.

This unique “private conversation” solution would also have the additional benefit of limiting the time spent in idle chit-chat because if one talks for too long a duration, the speaker would become rather wet with the continued exposure to the mist (unless they resort to using an umbrella).