Andy’s Good Vibrations

In the past week, I’ve heard every Beach Boys song under the sun. On repeat. Andy is feeling very excited about summer’s arrival and his enthusiasm is infectious. As a result, our office stereo has been working overtime.

Andy’s summertime energy is spilling over into other places, too. The break room fridge is full of coconut water, new office plants are popping up everywhere and Andy’s desk looks like the inside of a piñata.

I stop by on my morning walk through the office.

Andy,” I smile at him over a sea of blue binders and yellow tulips, “it’s looking very seasonal over here.

He smiles back. “I’ve never been so excited for warm weather!

After the winter we had…” I respond.

“Exactly! I thought some colour and music would really lift our spirits. You know, remind us what it’s like to see blue skies and sunshine.”

I think it’s working,” I say, gesturing around us. The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds is playing and, though it’s first thing on a Monday, spirits are high. “What made you think to do all of this?

It was a study I read online about boosting office health. It talked about plants, music and healing colours. You know — blue is energizing, green is calming, yellow boosts creativity — that sort of thing.

I nod, scanning his desk. “This is why we love you, Andy!

Andy blushes and gives a shrug. “We spend 40 hours a week here, Rona. I think we should love where we work.

My heart feels full. I completely agree. “Well said. Thanks for reminding us all of that.

We share a smile and I continue on to my office. Maybe it’s the warmer weather or the cheerful music, but I feel especially lucky today. Who says an office can’t feel like home?

A Clean Fix for Earth Day

That long, cold winter is finally behind us! With the sun shining through our office windows, everyone is a little cheerier today.

Spring Cleaning for Earth Day

Brigid seems especially motivated. She’s finished all her tasks and has decided to give her workspace a thorough spring cleaning.

Her filing cabinet has been sorted, unnecessary documents shredded. Her desk is clutter-free and even her inbox is spotless. Next up, dusting and disinfecting her surfaces. She visits the break room to look for a bottle of bleach-based cleaner.

Martha is there, brewing a pot of coffee as Brigid rummages through the cupboard under the sink.

“Martha,” she asks, “have you seen the cleaner?”

“I just made a bottle!” Martha responds, leaving the coffee and motioning for Brigid to follow her. “On my way into the office today, I heard the most awful report on the radio.”

“Oh yeah…” Brigid says with a skeptical tone.Bottle Of Chemical Liquid With Hazard Symbol

“Yeah.” Martha says with a nod, “It was about chemical cleaners. You wouldn’t believe the harmful ingredients found in regular cleaners at the store. They can cause skin and eye irritation, not to mention that the chemicals linger in the air for hours after you use them. Imagine what that does to the environment –”

“But we need chemical cleaners to really clean our surfaces. I don’t want to catch a cold just because I’m afraid of a little bleach.” Brigid responds.

“No need to! A mix of tea tree oil, plain white vinegar, soap and water will disinfect just as well.”

Natural Cleaners. Vinegar, Baking Soda, Salt And Lemon.

“That seems like a lot of work…”

“Well,” Martha responds, “it sort of is. That’s why I’m putting in an Office Plus order later today. They sell all natural cleaners, too!”

“Really?” Brigid says, a bit surprised.

“It’s true.” Martha hands Brigid the bottle of natural cleaner. “Give it a try. It won’t irritate your skin like the regular stuff.”

Brigid looks it over. “Why not?” she says, heading back to her desk.

Moments later, Brigid returns to Martha’s desk with the bottle.

“Thanks,” Brigid beams, “now my spring cleaning is officially done! And my desk smells wonderful.”

Martha nods. She loves the smell of tea tree oil, too.

Brigid returns to her desk and takes a long, deep breath.

Just then, she hears, “Martha, where’s the bleach cleaner?” It’s Andy, Martha’s next green cleaner convert.

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…