everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

There is no I in Team. But there is one in Silly.

I am very fortunate to work with some fairly nutty folk. When I think about it, I’ve always been pretty lucky to work with people who are smart, but who also have a capacity for silliness and fun, which makes for a very enjoyable workplace.

[Image via @lilfitmiss]

[Image via @lilfitmiss] 

Although, when you’re working in an open plan office, it becomes clear that we humans don’t all have the same sense of what’s funny. Especially when the workspace is shared with many consultants engaged via a subcontinental company. Judging by the bewildered and sometimes frightened looks that I catch from time to time, I suspect they believe my job to be some strange combination of circus clown, town crier, counsellor, and policewoman. Which, as I reflect on it now, is probably a pretty accurate summary, I guess!

I would like to work with these guys. [image from Pixabay]

I would like to work with these guys too.

I am a terrible eavesdropper, which is a challenge in the super-open-plan office that we share. And when I say I am a terrible eavesdropper, I actually mean I am really really good at it. It’s one of my gifts. I can focus on a conversation with Person A (the conversation I am actually IN), but can also tune into the conversations of Persons B, C and D around me. It also helps to fill in details when people-watching in restaurants, airports, funerals and the like.

The openness of the open plan has certainly made the old tradition of office gossip a lot more challenging. Not that I engage in office gossip, obvs, as I am an HR professional. But I have heard that the super-open-plan environment has driven office gossip from the hallways to the email and the instant messaging. (Which, as a reminder, also means it is now recorded and can be monitored. A switch from the olden days of safely whinging about the Boss Man in the privacy of the tea room during a smoke break. Yes, I worked in the 1950s too.)

Anyways, I digress. I wanted to talk about my colleague Louise, who has started an email tradition, delivered to a small (but appreciative) group each Friday. I’m not sure how it began, and there was quite a long break in transmission there, but it is now back in action and it is making the world a better place. The distribution list is growing as word spreads of this underground movement that’s shaking things up, pushing the envelope and challenging the status quo.

LOLKeeping the emails short, but inspirational, the author knows the target market and stays true. Other Harvard Business Review fads may come and go, but this content has been fine-tuned over generations (and years of Christmas crackers). The email title?  Just three little words that warm the heart and the workplace: Friday Dad Joke.

Here’s a sample of some of our community’s recent treasures:

What’s the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?

  • You see one later and one in a while

What do you call cheese by itself?

  • Provolone

What do you call a girl with a frog on her head? 

  • Lily

You’re welcome. Happy Friday!

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EverydaySparks CEO, Idea #274

I’ve posted quite a few times about my brilliant ideas that I will implement when I am the CEO. The CEO of what? Dunno. But the organisation will be pretty cool, don’t you worry about that. Today, I wanted to share a possible office design for EverydaySparks Inc, via the awesome Cool Hunter website. Located in Bangkok, the headquarters of telecommunications company dtac has got to be one of the best office spaces in the world. And my professional HR opinion is that any job that you do would have to be more fun if you did it there. Don’t believe me? Check out these pics…

Now THAT’S a breakout area. Who needs a desk, I say.

Oh the bookshelves, the bookshelves!

And there’s a ‘FunFloor’, featuring indoor soccer, table tennis, and concert & performance spaces. Oh, and a running track. Uh huh.

Run away from annoying colleagues.

You can read more about the incredible dtac office on The Cool Hunter site here. And I am accepting applications to join EverydaySparks Inc, if you’re up for an undefined role in an unclear organisation. With rockin’ office space.

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Worth Noting

Anrol Designs are a Melbourne-based outfit that appreciate the quirky. They have licensed the work of the clever folk at Dear Blank Please Blank and come up with some notebooks that made me smile, so I thought I’d share them with you. I’d put these in the funk-tional gift category: surely everybody can use another notebook in their collection. I have quite a large collection of notebooks myself – I still have grand plans of filling them with story ideas, business ideas, website ideas, shopping lists, gift lists, lists of my enemies…those kinds of things. And I’m a sucker for cool stationery. I was also a star procrastinator when studying – I could spend hours sharpening all of my pencils and testing all of my pens, then re-arranging my desk drawers by colour and spring cleaning my wardrobe, before I’d finally settle down to start writing an essay. As if all that re-organisation could somehow help me to write more convincingly about something I still didn’t quite understand. Kinda like Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams. And no, I’ve never seen that movie, but I do hope that analogy makes sense. So it is with the notebook – once you have one that looks great, the amazing ideas will surely flow. Anyways, here are some of my favourites from the collection:

(Ok, this one is a card & not a notebook.)

(Alright, another card.)

(Yes, this one is a canvas. Promise there are some notebooks for sale too.)

You can check out the range of notebooks, canvasses, t-shirts, tea towels and cards at the Anrol Designs etsy shop here and the Dear Blank Please Blank website is also worth checking out – you can even submit your own message to the world. Or to your neighbour, or whoever it is that is bugging you. One of my favourites is: Dear Nickelback, That’s enough. Sincerely, the world. That website is here.

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Anthropomorphise!

Think Geek promises to sell “stuff for smart masses”. But not all of their stuff is especially geeky or designed for techos – today’s find made me giggle and I think it has a huge potential for adding a spark to the everyday items that we have around our homes and workplaces. Customers who have bought the kit have even sent in their own photos (which are then added to the product page) to show how they’ve used the stickers to add a bit of personality to things that would otherwise look pretty boring. See what you think…

In case you’re not familiar with the term ‘anthropomorphise’ (I wasn’t either), I’ll let the good people at Think Geek explain it far better than I can: We do it every day, though mostly without thinking about it – we get angry at the stapler that mangled our presentation, or the phone when it can’t get a signal. We say we “love this coffee mug,” and sometimes we even imagine a face on the clock on the wall. It’s called anthropomorphizing, and it’s where we imbue human characteristics to inanimate objects.

So they’ve taken this one step further and sell “Inanimate Character Stickers” – over 100 stickers of “eyes and mouths in various shapes, sizes and expressions, waiting for you to give life to the lifeless.” This idea is right up my street – I love it! From fruit to office products to shoes, people have submitted photos of what they’ve managed to achieve with just some kooky looking eyes and a toothy grin.

And the possibilities are endless. If others keep borrowing your stapler and forgetting to give it back, a scary face might be just what you need. Or if you want to encourage people to eat the orange cream biscuits that no one else wants, maybe stick on a nice little friendly face and watch them win people over. I’m thinking that doctors could take medical implements to a whole other level with a well chosen pair of eyes and a smile – except the only thing worse than a needle coming at you is surely a needle with a maniacal face coming at you…

I think these stickers could change our lives. Or, at least, they could help make us smile as we go about our business every day. And that’s a step in the right direction. If you’d like to check them out, they are available from Think Geek here.

 

 

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EverydaySparks, CEO Idea #53.

I have previously written about some of the art that will be on the walls of EverydaySparks Inc (here, if you missed it). And now I can share some more office features that will keep the EverydaySparkians happy, energised and, of course, highly productive. Just what they’ll be doing is yet to be confirmed, but be assured they will be doing it well.

Leveraging synergies, stepping up to the plate, getting all your ducks in a row, thinking outside of the square, having skin in the game. Surviving the jargon of the corporate jungle can be exhausting (especially if you spend energy trying to work out what people actually mean by all that gibberish). You need to be fit and healthy to keep up…and what better way to do that than with an exercise bike built in to your desk? The Elliptical Machine Office Desk is designed to be pedaled at slower cadences that won’t break one’s concentration (or cause one to break a sweat), an average user can burn about 4,000 calories in a typical workweek. Uh huh.

On the flipside, we know that it’s important to get enough rest. Enter the Power Nap Capsule, a space-age looking piece of furniture inspired by NASA studies demonstrating that napping can improve reaction time by 16% and concentration by 34%. Apparently, this capsule features a sleeping (sorry, napping) area that is longer than a king size mattress – a spacious, semi-enclosed sleeping environment ideal for recharging the mind and body. And it’s only semi-enclosed, so anyone that dozes for too long will have cold water thrown in on them as a rejuvenating hydration therapy technique. (That part was developed by EverydaySparks Inc, not based on NASA studies.)

I know car-pooling is good for the environment, and I’ve always been a public-transport-to-work kinda gal myself anyway, but when I am transformed into EverydaySparks CEO, I will need a vehicle that befits my lofty status. I don’t want it to be so big or attractive to others that I end up driving every clown in town with me wherever I go though – a CEO of an organisation like EverydaySparks Inc obviously needs quiet time to dream and plan… So I’ve found my company car. It’s electric and it only holds one person. It actually looks eerily similar to that Power Nap Capsule, just with doors and wheels and some other bits. Or something that one of the Mr Men characters would drive. Apparently, this electric, highway-legal, three-wheeled, single passenger vehicle combines the functionality of an electric car with the maneuverability and scale of a motorcycle. And it uses less than half the energy of today’s most efficient hybrid vehicles. And, like all good handbags or lollies or fireworks, it is available in Red, Teal, Orange, Blue, Yellow, Purple, Magenta, White, Coral, Dark Aqua, Green, Lime Green, Lilac and Aqua.

Oh, and my briefcase? It’ll be this one. Sure, it looks boring enough – but wait. Here it is again. Yep, it’s the Brazilian Barbecue Briefcase that converts into a charcoal grill with motorized spits for grilling authentic Brazilian churrasco. The briefcase sets up on its four removable legs and a motor inside its lid automatically rotates the four included spits over a charcoal tray in the base, producing meat with crisp, golden-brown exteriors and succulent interiors–the hallmarks of churrasco. I’m not even a churrasco fan, but it seems more exciting than a normal briefcase.

All of these items are available from that amazing superstore Hammacher Schlemmer – as long as you are not planning to compete with EverydaySparks Inc for the best employer awards, you can check them out here.

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Write on

When I saw this at one of my favourite online spots, Candy Stripe Cloud, I had to share it. Just in case you’re looking for a present for someone who loves animals. Or who loves pens. Or who is just a weirdo. It doesn’t have a creative name – Brown Bear Pen – but don’t be fooled by that. This bear is really something. It looks like a precious ornament and will jazz up any desk or coffee table. But Brown Bear holds a secret deep inside. Deep, deep inside, actually. What could it be? Some insight into the meaning of life? Winning lottery numbers? A foolproof plan for world peace?

Steady on, he’s only a $17 plastic bear. The secret deep inside is a pen. Yes, the product name was kind of a giveaway. But these pictures still don’t tell me how it all fits together…

Aha. I see now. Brown Bear Pen – use it if you dare.

(And if you like Brown Bear Pen, you’ll love Candy Stripe Cloud)

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