How to Fight The Flu


Back to work season means another thing around here: back to cold season. I’m not talking about the weather, but about that pesky little virus that seems to travel around the office once the thermostat dips to a certain level. I’m a big advocate for prevention, so you’ll never catch me without a fresh bottle of hand sanitizer and a full stock of multivitamins.

Prevention is great when it works, but sometimes it doesn’t. Case in point, Brigid. She’s been fighting a tickle in her throat all week and although she keeps insisting that she’s “just fine”, I can tell she’s not feeling herself.

I hate to penalize anyone for being a hard worker, but sometimes you just have to throw pride to the wind and accept the inevitable: Brigid is sick and needs to go home. And so I head over to her desk to give her the “bad” news.

Flu - Nose Blowing

“Brigid,” I start, “you aren’t seeming yourself today. Has that bug finally caught you?”

She masks a sniffle and her already red nose. “No!” she insists. “I’m still just fighting it off. Nothing a few doses of cold medication can’t fix.”

I let out a sigh and give my best concerned look, “But Brigid, your poor nose! I think you need a day off. You aren’t helping anyone if you wind up getting even worse. Rest is the best medicine.”

She looks a bit hurt, as though I’ve called her bluff. “Really, though, I can stay –”

“I know you can,” I reassure her, “but what if someone else winds up catching it? Or worse, you run yourself into the ground and wind up with pneumonia? Please, Brigid, take the day off. Just one day. If you feel better tomorrow, you should come in. If you wake up feeling beat, just stay in bed and know that I’ve got you covered.”

I can see the look of resistance on her face soften. She’s giving in. “I guess a nap would be pretty nice right about now.”

I let out a little chuckle, “Of course it would be! Your body needs it.”

“Can I just finish up these emails first?” she asks me.

“How about you fire off a quick response saying that you will address your emails tomorrow. Let people know that you are taking a sick day.” I smile, relieved that Brigid will be going home to rest.

“Okay,” she says as she cracks a meek smile. “I’ll be out of here soon, then, Rona.”

“That’s what I like to hear! Rest up.” I say to her as I turn to walk back to my office.

When an employee is sick, it’s always a delicate balance to make sure that they are taking care of themselves while also protecting the health of everyone else in the office. Had Brigid insisted on staying for the day, I may have offended her in suggesting that the rest of us are better off without her. As far as I’m concerned, no project deadline is worth the health of my employees. I’m so lucky to have staff that agrees with me.

A quick pump of hand sanitizer and I’m ready to tackle my own emails. Suddenly, though, I feel a bit of a chill. Is it just me, or is my office especially cold today? And maybe I need a sip of water, because there seems to be a tickle in my throat…

The Whiteboard Blues


It’s been a busy month, that’s for sure. Back-to-work in September meant a lot of new projects, and now I’m spending most of my lunch hours in the conference room, trying to dig my wa

y out of work piles. It’s a blessing to love the work I do, especially at a time like this.

Today, I’ve already had three project meetings and the whiteboard is a sea of muddy colour. The stench of dry erase markers is giving me a headache, so I walk outside to grab a breath of fresh air.

The sun is shining and the breeze is crisp in that new autumn way. Fall might just be my favourite season. The turning leaves and the smell of fresh cool air is so romantic. I walk back to the office revitalized, and ready to tackle the afternoon of meetings ahead.

As I open the front door, our package delivery arrives behind me. I hold the door open and offer to sign for the packages, since Brigid is still on lunch break. It’s a new delivery from Office Plus. I decide to take the boxes up to my office. Maybe a bit of supply stocking will be just the break I need before diving back into that conference room.

I open the first box, and it’s a godsend. Expo Low Odour Dry Erase Markers, Whiteboard Care Cleaner and magnetic push-pins. It’s like Brigid re

ad my mind. We’re so desperately in need of better whiteboard supplies.

Like a kid in a candy store, I pile the new supplies in my arms and head to the conference room. The muddy whiteboard is like a challenge. I smirk before dousing it in the cleaner spray and wiping it clean. Our porcelain whiteboard is crisp white once again, I sight I haven’t seen since the day we bought it. I open a window to let out the smell of our old dry erase markers — a cheap pack that Brigid bought from the Loonie Shop in a pinch. I throw the rest of those markers in the garbage, then grab the new pack. As I uncap the marker, I can’t help but take a whiff. It might as well be aromatherapy after the month I’ve had. Finally, the conference room won’t smell like a chemical processing plant.

I glance at the clock; 1:05p.m..Brigid is back from lunch now, so I head over to her desk to thank her.

“Brigid,” I start, “those dry erase supplies are a dream come true.”

She laughs, “Every time I’ve passed the conference room this month, the Whiteboard has looked like a preschool finger painting project. How on earth were you able to read anything off of it?!”

Busy Whiteboard

“Lots of squinting,” I say, half-serious.

“Well, I’m glad the supplies are finally here. You can give your eyes a rest.”

“And my nose!” I say, with maybe too much excitement. “Those old markers absolutely stank.”

“No offense, Rona,” she starts with a smirk, “but you’ve been living in that conference room so long, you were starting to smell like them.”

We share a laugh at my expense, which is fine by me. I was ready to throw in the towel earlier today, but between the gorgeous fall air, Brigid’s thoughtful Office Plus order and the reminder that my staff is every bit as hardworking as I am, I’m ready to tackle the day.

But not before I hoard a bottle of the whiteboard cleaner in my desk. The Whiteboard at home — the one my kids use for drawing — could use a good scrubbing, too.

Every Office Needs Good Coffee — Enter to Win!


Ah, the sweet smell of coffee in the morning. It’s usually already hanging in the air when I arrive at the office, but today I don’t detect our signature scent.

Office Misadventure Team Drinking Coffee

I head toward the break room to switch on the coffee machine, and that’s when I see Andy. Sweat is rolling down his forehead, he’s got his sleeves rolled up and the coffee machine is broken into a million little pieces.

“Rough morning, Andy?” I ask as I put a hand on his shoulder. He jumps, startled by my presence.

“Rona!” he shouts in surprise. “You scared me. I’m a little… on edge this morning.”

“You don’t say?” I respond with mock sarcasm. Poor Andy. If ever he needed a cup of coffee, it seems it would be now.

“I hate to say it, but I think the coffee maker is about to meet it’s final resting place,” he tells me. “I fixed it last week, but my old tricks aren’t working.”

Now, I’m the one sweating. We have no room in our budget this month for a new coffee maker, and our office runs on 50% hard work and 50% good coffee. It’s only 8:30AM, but if we don’t have coffee when others start trickling in around 9AM, I fear a riot.

I’m about to enter panic mode when I remember something. “I have just the answer!” I respond, rushing to my office to grab this month’s Office Plus flyer. In a flash, I’m back at the break room. Now, both Andy and I look like we’ve run a marathon. We’re sweaty, we both need a coffee and we dread being the bearers of bad news about the broken coffee machine.

I open the flyer to page six and point at the Breakroom Upgrade feature. “All we have to do is go to www.play4fun.ca/monthly and enter to win a new coffee machine!” I say enthusiastically to Andy.

Coffee Contest September 2014

“Do you really think we can win it?” he asks with a smirk.

“Why not?!” I respond. “We’re due for a little good luck.”

“Let’s do it!” Andy says, snatching the flyer from my hands and excitedly running over to his computer. I follow him, we open the web browser and within a minute, we’ve entered to win a much needed (and seriously upgraded) coffee machine.

“But we still have to break the bad news to everyone…” I start, as I smell our office’s signature scent wafting in. It’s fresh coffee!

Martha rounds the corner with a tray of paper cups. “Anyone in the mood for a cup of joe?” she asks with a smile.

Andy and I are like kids in a candy store. We take our cups with gratitude, and ask Martha just how she knew about the coffee machine.

“I tried to pre-set it last night. I usually have it auto-brewed for us when we come in. But the thing just wouldn’t work!” Martha says as Andy and I sip our sweet, sweet coffees. We nod in agreement with her, familiar with the frustration of finding an out-of-order coffee machine.

“Thank-you, Martha.” I say. “You have no idea how much we need this right now.”

Today, we’ll enjoy our coffee. And tomorrow, we’ll all be bringing a thermos to work. With a little luck, though, we’ll be brewing from our brand new coffee machine by next month!

If your office needs a new coffee machine as much as we do, enter to win here. Or, maybe leave it off your to-do list. If we’re the only office that enters, I like our odds…