Trying to get out of bed and back to the office after a break.
Kevin returns home from his holiday get-away, grateful that he is back in his house and back to his favourite chair.
Although vacation from work is extremely important for mental and physical health, it can be a real struggle to get back to the office.
The night before the return to the office brings the "What do I need to do?" nightmares or the 3:00 am bolt-up in bed "Did I sleep in? Did I miss the alarm?".
Knowing that there is a cold desk and bad coffee impatiently waiting for you in mere hours is not very enticing. It is like putting a cat in the bath water. The cat fights in the hopes that their paws never feel the unpleasant manky water.
The 80% rule keeps us moving forward in day-to-day life. If you like your friends, family, spouse, hobbies, or work 80% of the time, you should be relatively content. Sorry, but there is no 100% liking everything at the same time. If you do like everything 100% of the time, then you are an exceptional person and lead an exceptional life or you are apt at convincing yourself the world isn't round. You can persuade yourself to believe anything. Not delusional, but incredibly optimistic and effectual. For the rest of us, the proverbial life cup hovers at half-full and 80% happiness is adequate.
If work happiness is at 60%, then hopefully you have good hobbies. If work happiness is 100%, then you are
a workaholic and sacrifice other elements of your life. If work happiness is 80-90%, then you have found your calling and are not going to create major imbalances in life.
Pulling the key fob out of your pocket to get into the office after a break can feel like lifting an hundred-pound weight. Once the door releases, the transition between your personal life to your professional life has begun. For those who work from home, it could be the will to get your finger on the mouse to open your inbox. The good news, is everyone else in the office or at home is feeling the same way.
Knowing that it isn't easy to get your rested butt back into your desk chair, it is important to give individuals time to adjust to their environment after their break before pouncing on them with tasks. It is also good to give them an update after their adjustment period of what has happened in their absence to give them inclusion back into the project. Then you can explain what is expected for deliverables in the upcoming days or weeks.
After a few hours of returning to the office, the day-to-day rhythm begins and vacation seems like it happened months ago. Project deadlines still loom and the client still want your full attention. However, returning from a break can bring new zest and energy to your work. Thus the importance of taking the break in the first place.
Kevin nudges my arm at 5am indicating it is time to get up and return to work. This is part of his routine. As I am ready to leave the house, Kevin goes to the window where he sits on the sill and begins his work day - sleep then eat or eat then sleep. There is an odd sense of calm as I get back to our everyday. Until next vacation, I think I can make it.
Kevin and I work on a project with team members from other firms located in different countries.
We know that dogs chase tails, cats don't listen to basic commands, and guppies do not speak English. Or any language that we are currently aware of. So how do you get all these animals to collaborate and work with a project plan to achieve a common deliverable?
To identify a great advantage of technology, the connectivity of individuals and the global workforce allow us to access a variety of talent. The trick is trying to make sure everyone is available for a meeting when required in varying time zones.
There is also understanding the social nuances of cultures. What we find as an amusing opening discussion statement in North America may not seem as amusing to others across the pond. Comments like "slipping one past the goalie" and "diddling it here and there" can be most inappropriate if the context is not wholly understood by all.
Weather is a good, safe, universal topic along with quaint children, or pet stories. Politics are not always safe. However, in recent months, it was hard not to speak of Srexit or Frump. (Names of events or individuals have been changed to avoid controversy.)
The neutralized issue or personality stance on a collaborative project is delicate. It is not entirely acceptable to single-out a specific wrong doing or doer during the project process. Name blaming doesn't make anyone seem sophisticated or higher than the average emotional intellect of the team. That is the most important item to remember - all are working as a team. Not to say that there isn't a time and place to vent frustrations. We are not above standing up for ourselves or making sure the right individuals know who is really doing what work, but the team needs to be operating effectively for project success. To work effectively, there should be minimal aggravations towards teammates or technical issues. All individuals may not be working in the same office building or for the same company, therefore, the project itself becomes the focused effort. Then there is the organizational chart. Who is to answer to whom and who is responsible for what role based-on fee splits. In a good collaboration, the upper management will have had a discussion regarding acceptable fees for the project elements and allow the game players to proceed without concern about who is paid to do what and work toward the greater good of the project. It only makes everyone look good when the project succeeds.
Identifying problem persons which jeopardize the team can be dealt with tactfully without delivering a negative message to the whole project troupe. Negative thoughts perpetuate negative issues. Even beginning to refer to the project as following a successful track and minimizing overall issues will help guarantee the positive perception of the project to the team.
Large project issues should not be trivialized, but they are not to be announced to the entire client group or project team. Dwelling on others misery must originate from the sandbox. The need to tell everyone Jimmy fell off the monkey bars, landed on his face, and wet his pants, was to make our own lousy attempts at the monkey bars seem less painful. Time to get over the it and keep what happened in the sandbox beneath the new dirt.
Kevin is currently having a weekend getaway for a couple of days over the holiday. He is with new folks and new furry friends. It has been reported that he is not getting along with the other animals, but we aren't going to make a big deal of it. If he comes home fed and without scratches, we will say that his stay was as productive as it could have been considering the circumstances. Next time we will help him make it more successful - we will let him take his favorite chair.
Making an overall project plan.
With the New Year approaching, we start to think about what we want the up-coming year to look like for us. If it has been a rough year with several bumps in the road with work and life, we look for new clean pavement ahead. If it has been a good year, we mourn the loss of past year and anxiously await what will happen over the next few months. New Year's disillusions - not resolutions. I have been prepping Kevin as this is the year of the New Dog. (Note: I am aware it is the year of the Red Chicken, however, City Bylaw does not allow chickens in our inner city dwelling.) Kevin and I need a plan of what having a new member of the household will be like. Sleeping arrangements, introductions, food dish locations, and saying goodbye to the annuals in the backyard. There are things we need to think about before our new arrival.
When a project has been conceptualized, and now has the blessing of upper management to proceed, a team is required to produce, deliver, coordinate, and execute - turn the concept into being. There needs to be a master plan or overall project plan to get everyone to the final deliverable and preferably with limited staff and client casualties. In every office there are mad scientists who keeps the entire master plan snuggled in the Borca's area of the brain never to be placed on paper or whiteboard for all to see. It is equivalent to knowing that your team needs to get from where you are standing, through the park and to the store. Only, you don't know the park or on what street the store is located. With a mad scientist, they are the only ones who know where to go and if anyone gets separated from the team, everyone is lost. If you stop and take a bit of time to talk with your team and take a map to see what the most efficient and shortest way to the store is, BEFORE it closes, you will all be successful.
An overall project plan contains key milestone dates, major roadblocks or constraints which can affect the outcome, resource ability, availability, interest, and what the deliverable actually is. The information from the overall project plan is to be shared with the team or they will have no idea what their limitations are. After the overall project plan is shared with the team, then the roles of each team member and their expectations can be reviewed. There is a factor of "oops" and "didn't expect that" incorporated into the overall project plan as well. Not exactly "plan B", but the awareness that not all will be precisely executed according to plan. The overall project plan has to be flexible as well - too many unknown factors can disrupt the initial plan, but you have to start somewhere.
The popular vision of horizontal management where everyone is equal is a nice concept and can work under specific criteria, however, those perfect conditions are not consistent with every project and they are not the normal. In order for a project to be organized efficiently, someone has to be elected or chosen as the overseer. This person may not be the Project Manager. Team members with the ability to project plan and task manage can be the ones who help create and implement the overall project plan on a daily basis.
A plan can be scribbled on a notebook or can be beautified by a graphic department, as long as it is enforced and accepted by upper management and the team it will be a key to project success and give the client confidence that you have their interests under control. The plan should be refered to during the project process to ensure continuity and revised where necessary. This is not a militant element, it is just basic organization.
Perhaps when we discover the perfect algorithm for project planning with the human emotional factors included, we will not need the time required to create and implement the plan. In the meantime, Kevin and I will review our New Dog Plan to see that we haven't missed anything...and to plan if the dog sees Kevin as dinner...
Candy or other treats in the office.
According to science, food provides nutritional support to the body. A tasty sugary treat provides short term emotional support to the body - not nutritional. As Kevin's kitty treats provide him with morsels of happiness, our sweet or savory treats give us our dose of instant medicated pleasure.
In trying to resist the colourful and flirtatious advances of the holiday candy at my desk, I think of every reason why their wrapper should not be torn open to reveal their inner treasure. However, at the slightest spike of adrenaline enduced by a one hour deadline, there is no time to think - only to react. My hand lunges for a candy and my fingers furiously paw the crinkly coating unveiling the chocolatey goodness beneath. The satisfaction of the candy is short-lived. My mouth feels soggy and defiled after the sugar infusion diffuses. Only water will dull the aftertaste. 20. min go by and I am cranky that I succumbed to such an impulsive need. 20 min. after that, the candy's twin stares at me with loneliness. "Leave no candy behind!", my tastebuds shout.
A co-worker comes along and observes me and my lone tempter. I gleefully point to the candy dish in the center work pod. I am excited that I can bring someone else on my emotional journey to Candyland. The cycle continues throughout the rest of the day. The dish becomes empty with several different hands reaching for their fix.
Food is social. There must have been great rejoice and celebration when Og and Zog brought the Sabertooth home for dinner. There is comfort in the kitchen with the familiar smells of our favourite dishes. There is excitement of exotic meals that monentairly transport us to another place. We have lunch with co-workers to safely talk about uncomfortable issues, we make business deals over brunch, and network over h'dourves.
Fruit still vanishes from the office lunch room on Fruit Day supporting the theory that it just isn't the candied treats motivating our emotional desires. I haven't seen a Christmas Veggie Cake, or Carrot Brittle, or Banaimo Bars in the staff kitchen yet, but there is evidence that these too would be eaten by some. The excuse to get out from behind our desk and take a tour about the office and go find a snack is great. Sugar or not, it is about food.
Treats or a cup of coffee bought for someone on your team can mean a lot - it is a simple gesture of gratitude and appreciation. Food is a human essential and therefore it is a symbol of life and well being wanting to be shared.
Kevin sits back on his hind quarters with his front paws reaching for me when I offer him a treat. I work efficiently to complete my task and walk to the candy jar for my reward. Is this bad reward behaviour? I don't think so. I will just need to practice not reaching for the second one....or third....or fourth..
Kevin and I drag ourselves to the office party.
Kevin looks for his coat and tails to wear for the office Christmas Party. He doesn't need to look far. His luxurious fluffy coat and bouffant tail makes him good arm candy at any event.
With the holiday season upon us, stores begin to showcase evening wear for that once-a-year party where you can prove that you own clothes in other fabrics than denim or corduroy. It is also the party where you have the opportunity to glimpse into your co-workers personal lives - to see them with their significant other or observe them being unusually candid when speaking with you. At this iconic office affair, there is the anxiousness that for once your teammates can see the "real" you and they will parade about you with fresh eyes. The "real-ity" - most co-workers will sit at dinner tables with their work peeps - or with those they feel most comfortable talking to. Others will have to awkwardly engage in conversation with "that guy" who works on the other side of the office as they are late to the party and all the other tables have been filled. Like playing musical chairs - the last one standing gets booted from game.
After the second glass of free wine, as you drank the first one quickly to avoid looking bored, lips begin to loosen and the room gets louder. Proceeding the speeches and entertainment, the "Yawn, I am soo tired, I think it is time to go" vanish into the night not willing to take a part in the stories whispered in the staff kitchen on Monday morning.
The third, fourth, and fifth glass of free wine are poured. The bar is now serving shots. The party can be heard on the street by passing pedestrians giggling at the knowledge of what kind of day tomorrow will bring for the merrymakers. Closet smokers open the doors of inhibition and light-up for all to see. Lines form at the washrooms and necklines plunge even further - both for the suit shirt and the strapless dress. Pictures from the wee hours of the office party resemble childhood photos where we appear kooky dressed-up in our parents fancy clothes. Our make-up smudged around our face as our small hands struggled with the lipstick tube. Several people are now half-in-the-bag.
Men come alive with the sound of music. They no longer have two left feet, but the dance moves of Jagger. Their one dance move makes them the Prince of the Ball and women their Cinderella. As energy fades and the liquor runs dry, those left hail cabs or find hotel rooms for the night.
Over 30 office Christmas Parties I have attended, I have been everything from the Yawner to the Cinderella. I don't believe in regrets - just misguided decisions, so I do not deny my actions. However, I have fond memories of meeting people with whom I worked and had never talked to. If I hadn't been seated across the dinner table from them at the Christmas Party I wouldn't have known they preferred Cyndi Lauper to Metallica. Or I wouldn't have met a co-worker's significant other in the washroom line-up. Or wouldn't have met the account manager if I had not dropped my bun on their foot in the buffet line. There should be more times that don't include copious amounts of alcohol or dress code where we are all free to be comfortable with our co-workers. We should have this relaxed environment in our everyday work and we should endeavour to make our teams want to share some morsel of their lives with us. It is how we learn who they are and how they can work better.
Kevin looks handsome as usual. This year I go to the Christmas Party with no expectations and no curfew. We will see where the evening takes us and who we will meet. Hopefully, no one is allergic to cats.
Exercise is good..keeps you from punching a team member.
Like many, I am not a born athlete blessed with naturally chiseled abs and a perky posterior. I have to drag my sorry sass once a week to the gym. There, I begrudgingly lay on a mat and try to make my elbows reach my knees, or try to lunge low enough to hear my ankles crack. Thankfully, I do have someone nagging me to work harder and his name is Mikey. For a dog, he can be a quite the drill sergeant when I am supposed to be getting results. Mikey often has to bark loudly as it is hard to hear anything over my complaining.
Days can be long with multiple meetings, disapproving consultants, and balancing budgets which can make it difficult to do any physical activity other than lifting the latte to your lips. However, even a short walk can help with stress or fatigue. I know that going to the gym only once a week isn't quite enough to maintain good fitness or to see dramatic results, so when I can, I look to other activities to stay active. Cleaning the house may be included, but vacuuming sucks. :)
After polling my co-workers and friends, all confirmed that they do feel better after engaging in physical activity. It is the initial motivation of going to the gym, changing, and starting an activity that creates the biggest barrier between people and their fitness. Picking-up the workout bag and arriving at the gym really is the hardest part of intense exercise. At home, walking down the stairs to the basement and jumping onto the treadmill can be the challenge. There isn't a good answer to overcome the motivational challenge of starting an activity as it is different for everyone. The knowledge that there will be more energy to help you through those meetings and increased patience to calm the consultants is a good motivator to get moving. Also motivating is the awareness that there are things to do outside of work that can help you have new experiences or meet other people who are also trying to stay active. Thirty minutes of walking on a treadmill while watching the glube-tube, or doing a few sit-ups and push-ups at the park with the kids, all count for some activity beyond sitting. Every time you do a small activity, make it harder and it will help.
Mikey sees me complain during my sets, but he is unmoved. His goal is my goal - to complete the next 50 min. Each time I collapse on the mat and fain tears, I know that I am doing this for my own good, and the good of those around me whom I need to help guide and motivate. When the week has been extremely hard, and your patience pushed beyond the threshold of reasonable emotional tolerance, there really is nothing more satisfying than hitting a punching bag. The punching bag can't sue you.
Mikey can be found at - www.britannicafitness.com
The Seniors in the Office
This is Alex and he is old.
Alex is in his 21st cat year which makes him about 100 in human years. He stopped grooming himself about a year ago, and takes pills everyday for his heart and high-blood pressure. He is able to jump-up on his favourite chair, climb stairs, and find the litterbox. The vet says that apart from his minor health issues, he can continue to trudge the corridors of his little life. He isn't going to let himself give up just yet.
Alex is "that guy" (gal) in the office who keeps on working despite the hip replacement and seniors discounts. In the predominately younger offices, these individuals are truly relics. However, like old relics, they can be treasures. If you can be patient through the anecdotal evidence of how things were harder when they entered the corporate world, and the politically incorrect rants on humanity, you find nuggets of golden insight that they have cultivated over 40 years of experience.
The senior, senior staff, contribute to the company in unique and often intangible ways. You need to respect the thousands of meetings they have attended, hundreds of invoices they have processed, numerous failures and accomplishments, and voluminous daily tasks. They appear not as fast or technologically savvy than their younger counterparts, but those years of experience mean that they do not have to think as hard or work long hours to solve a problem.
Occasionally, golden individuals do need to be escorted to the exit door, but only if their distaste and resentment has reached the corporate tolerance saturation point. At this time they become disruptive and unruly - not caring how loud they are talking about the idiots they work with or eating any lunch they want out of the staff fridge.
These individuals can also be the most relaxed and unwavering on a project team. I watch them navigate the intense and chaotic deadlines with calm and ease. On my first large project, a golden consultant told me to chill - the project would get done with or without me. It really is about the project process - the journey, not the destination. Although, if you aren't good at your job, you will not like the destination. Years later I am still trying to explore this word "chill", but looking to those golden individuals, I have hope that I will enjoy a better project temperature. When you are on a team with them or in the staff kitchen, remember that they are as scared of you as you are of them.
Kevin walks over to Alex and gives him a bat on the ears indicating that he wants to play. Alex stares at Kevin in silence - Kevin disarms himself as Alex clearly isn't taking his bait. Then, with a steady paw, Alex thumps the unsuspecting Kevin to the ground. That is the elegance of age and experience. Even with technology on our side, we too shall get old.
Body Language in the Boardroom
Kevin can't speak English.
I am convinced he tries to speak to me with his pathetic meows and his tail flicks - he really does have a tiny meow for such a big cat... I also believe he listens for the intonations in my voice when I talk to him and watches my movements which indicate when he is going to get fed and when it is time to go out. (let's get this over with now - yes, Kevin gets to go out during the day for 1-2 hours. I am fully aware that this is not good for him in the long-run, but he loves being outside and his precious time he gets to chase birds keeps him fit. He is not allowed out at night as this is when the cat gangs appear in the alley and he would get his furry butt handed to him by some inner-city kitties who know how to handle themselves. Alex, the old cat who you will meet later, is strictly indoors)
Although some of us like to just use words to convey information with people as the current state of technology demands instant answers via email or phone, we don't realize that we miss what is being said with our body language and subtle nuances. Subtle nuances like how Kevin licks his paws or how your co-worker always walks to the right of their chair to sit down. When Og and Zog were hunting sabretooth, I don't think they were yelling grammatically correct full sentences with each other as they were moments away from the "coolest-in-the-cave" kill. I suspect that they were using some form of non-verbal signal to give directions in "operation-kill-sabretooth".
There are great links online to blogs and forums about how to read body language. This isn't a perfected science and there still seems to be discussion about how many emotions humans can convey non-verbally and what can be detected by watching body movements, however, there are some simple basic gestures that can help to understand what peoples body language is trying to say.
Understanding your teammate or opponent, whichever the relationship may be, can help your project success. Are their arms crossed in defence or indifference? Are they covering their mouth when they speak? Are they playing with pens? Are they eating their pen? Are they turned away from you? Are they looking at their phone when you are speaking? All these and many others gestures can reveal much about how people are feeling towards a topic, you, or a situation. Not everyone has the ability to naturally watch and read body language, and some people really don't care. However, a little time spent looking at someone to see what emotion they have can determine if your idea or direction is being received correctly. It was described to me once this way - "you can say one thing but your body is something else. This is why we don't like bad actors. They don't act with their whole body."
For us HSP's (highly sensitive persons), we can get so passionate about what we believe or think is right that we ignore all body language. This is where we need to stop and regain poker-face composure. The poker-face. Those experienced in business and corporate management are excellent at the poker-face. It is difficult to read the poker-face, but if you can get the poker players to feel comfortable, maybe share a laugh or good story, then slowly the body language starts to reveal emotion. Like hosting your own house party, making people feel comfortable in a meeting helps to relax individuals enough to want to look at each other. When we know we are being watched as we are talking, we feel that we are connecting to our audience. A large part of disappointment in meetings is when no one feels like they have been heard or that anyone was listening.
Kevin doesn't have a cat door. He also doesn't have opposable thumbs, and he can't successfully scratch at the metal door, so he is left finding another way to ask to come inside. He steps onto the patio furniture outside and looks anxiously into the window. If I didn't take the time to look-up from my work, then Kevin would become a catsicle in the cold or be left for those bad-sass cat gangs. If a cat can find a way to use body language, I am sure we can.
Importance of Taking a Break
The thought of putting Kevin in his cat carrier and having a non-allergic barista come and take a photo with us was seriously considered. Knowing Kevin hates the carrier affirmed that I couldn't put my wants in front of his needs, even though he has been scratching the arm of my favourite chair. What we did do was have some time to relax by the back window and chat about our lives - chasing mice, chasing kids - washing tail, using a new shampoo - taste of the new cat food, new restaurant in the neighbourhood. It is good to take a break to think about something else for a few minutes other than the task(s) waiting for you at your desk.
The different generations in the present workplace have brought other social and emotional requirements for employees that had not been commonplace until only a few years ago. As technology changes exponentially, it affects how society communicates and navigates day-to-day. The "Old Guard" or "Silverbacks" 55+ Boomers club, want to know why is everyone going for a coffee break at 10am. That is what a lunch break is for. The "Gen X'ers" 35+ are torn between not having the time to go for a 10am coffee break, and not wanting to look like they aren't keeping-up with the new "hip" kids. Then there are the "Gen Y'ers" 20+ or the Millennials. Now, there is commentary circulating that the Millennials have entitlement issues - the need to instantaneously have what their parents have or what their mentors have as soon as they graduate from post secondary school - not recognizing the 20 years plus required to achieve some of these titles and assets. This observation is not completely unfounded, however, there are many Millennials who bring a host of skills to the workplace; hard-working, tech savvy, eager to learn, and very adaptable. In addition, the way in which they prefer to work and how they view their workplace rights, is not quite conventional. Coming into the office later in the day and working until late seems to fit some Millennial profiles, as well as working more during the week and not on weekends. For some offices and projects, this revised work schedule can be completely appropriate. This alternate timing can work to a teams advantage if there are also individuals that prefer to arrive early and leave early - then there are always people in the office working from early until late and this can help productivity.
Many Millennials also like titles. Titles are not quite what they once were. In the current customization atmosphere of companies, creating a new title or giving a title to a less-than-attractive position is quite common. This doesn't necessarily have the integrity and accountability of a grand title. Multiple letters after a name is also deemed an asset with your title. In many cases, the letters can be bought - because you took the course and received the letters doesn't mean you actually have the experience. Giving a title is fine - once the client has yelled at you on the phone or in a meeting, the need to flaunt your title begins to weaken.
With our technological society, texting, checking social media, and connecting to our world, it is important for us. It is also important to take breaks and keep our mental selves healthy. There should be times in the day where we see what the Bad Cardigans are wearing and what clever cat blogs are online. As long as time isn't been taken from the overall projects schedule, and affecting others work, minutes here-and-there are acceptable. In the overall project work plan and schedules, there should be buffer times for vacations, team functions, overtime requirements, and gaps of slower periods of work, if any. This info should be shared with the team so they know when and where their skills are required and for how long.
It shouldn't always matter how an employee gets their role accomplished. If they are capable and can do the work of 2 individuals, then inquire if they are comfortable taking on more responsibilities. Even though they are highly efficient, it doesn't mean that they still will not burn-out, or enjoy the increased workload. Once they leave the project, you still need to get the work done and re-train someone else, so it is easier to adjust a few hours of tasks and keep everyone content.
Kevin wanders over to where I am typing and yawns as he looks up at me. This is his way of suggesting "it is time for you to take a break, scratch my behind, let me outside, and make yourself a tea." I welcome the break.
When There is Nothing More to Say
For festive purposes, Kevin and I have decided to give a nod to the pagan celebration of All Hallow's Eve and explore when to know the conversation that you are having with someone is dead.
We have all had conversations where the recipient of the other end just has no evolutionary language skills past, "okay", "fine", or "not really". You can try to coax these individuals into a more dynamic discussion by trying to determine what their interests are, if any. However, sometimes you just need to accept that maybe this is how they are or maybe they don't like really like you, so best not to try too hard. Accept the conversation is dead.
Another example of accepting conversational completion is when your manager, client, or consultant has clearly indicated in the discussion or body language (crossing arms in defence, checking their watch, or physically turning away) that the topic is done. At this point, if you want your opinion to be heard, it may be best to move on or wait to resume the topic at a later date when the everyone has had a chance to cool down. If you receive the same response when you challenge the topic again, then the conversation is Zombie-dead. Zombie conversations are topics that will not die. The discussions can be killed, but the weapons to kill them vary from Zombie-to-Zombie. If nothing seems to vanquish the Zombie conversation, then it is best to lay down and play dead. Zombie conversations can only stay alive if the object of the conversations appear to have a heart beat.
When conversation topics are spinning in circles around the meeting table, let them spin for a bit. After a few spins, and just before tensions rise, insert the "let's take a moment to see what we know and how to move forward" or "let's take a moment to take a breath". Assigning specific tasks, or re-evaluating the discussion facts can help get to resolution and clarity.
A meeting can be difficult if there is a topic that has not been fully disclosed. Sometimes silence can be your best defence, or your best give-away to your true feelings to others. Silence around to topic can indicate that no one wants to be accountable.
As this is a festive discussion, we could review the idea of dressing-up at work in costumes. This depends on office or team personalities, personal beliefs, and interest. It is amusing to see others express themselves or watch them enjoy the idea of doing something in the office that is non-conventional. Personally, I will have my costume at hand for this year, but Kevin is a purist and will stick to his cat suit.
There is nothing more to say today. This post is now dead.