What (else) does your workplace finance?

How would you answer the question? Think of ‘workplace’ very literally, as in a physical place of communal work, where other things can, and do happen besides the work itself.

On one morning of my recent vacation I sat in Tamarind Park (Bishop Square, downtown Honolulu) having coffee and doing people-watching with daughter and boyfriend while hubby fit in a doctor’s appointment in one of these tall buildings:

Tamarind Park, Bishop Square

Boyfriend asked me if I ever missed the very, very nice office I’d had while a resort ops vp, and my answer was that I once missed some things about having that office, but I have since discovered my nostalgia to be a temporary state of affairs. The work, the conveniences, and the social relationships have all been replaced in some way to maintain or better the good (the pros), and discard the rest (the cons). Nothing is exactly the same, but the change has been good for me, forcing the shifts of new, and timely learning.

We three then began to talk story about how much work has changed since then (2003 was the year of my ‘corporate retirement’) because of our technological mobility today.

We also spoke of how you notice it more when you don’t have it — and thus you adjust faster in making those pro/con adjustments.

Others still have the office, still have the work, still have the conveniences and social relationships, and because they are “still in” them, they haven’t bothered to adjust at all, when fact is, they could have done so too.

Both daughter and boyfriend (both 26, and who both have a workPLACE) then stated quite correctly (in my opinion), “These people working here: Bet at least half of them could be sitting at home doing the exact same work they are supposed to be doing here.” “Heck, I bet it’s more like 80% of them. And why are they down here buying coffee and bagels at 9 in the morning instead of working anyway?”

Good questions. Great observations. So little is truly a brick and mortar business these days. That said, there are quite a few Downtown Everywhere office building property managers who are nervously relieved their tenants have yet to come to that aha! moment.

Another passing thought… Intriguing to imagine how many homeless we would help get off Honolulu streets and beaches if converting a single one of the skyscrapers in my photo…

What might you be “still into” with your automatic pilot? Are you financing place-of-work necessity, or someone’s too-long walk-about coffee and bagel break?

Want more? Try these:
Model Me This: There’s little use having a model you’d get an “A” for in some business course — including one of mine, because those are get-your-training-wheels places that at best, will steady you in your seat.
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Manager’s Skill: Separate Signal from Noise: One of the best skills you can cultivate as a manager is separating signal from noise, understanding what you pay attention to, and what you ignore as irrelevant.
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Embrace your Systems Thinker: I truly value and appreciate systems thinking; it’s the drool-over-it detail stuff of the stellar projects that dynamic workplace teams prosper within.

Read the story behind the book: Imagine having a Thought Kit
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