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Monday28 July 2014

In hard times a break is more vital than ever

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Enjoy yourself this Christmas — you’ve definitely earned it

In hard times a break is more vital than ever

Source: Angela Salt

Maybe it’s an age thing, but every year Christmas just “sneaks up” on me. One minute it’s July and you are ticking the obligatory “office party” menu (how do I know if I will fancy the Christmas pudding or chocolate brownie half a year away?). The next minute a waiter is reminding me of what I actually ordered all that time ago (should have stuck to the cheese platter).

But what does the Christmas period actually mean for practices and businesses, and how can you use this time to revive the creative spirit? The office party is an important marker for everyone to celebrate success or simple survival. The year is almost over, and you got to the end together as a team. Enjoy it. (Apparently survival is the new success).

Pushing the party to January disrupts the natural business order. Clients will forgive the whole office being closed and incoherent in December. The same situation in January will irritate them. Remember that January is the time when “detox” is the rage, and most of the client world is deprived of alcohol and carbs. That energy and angst needs to be channelled somewhere — make sure it’s not in your direction.

Close the office or keep it going with a skeleton staff? Only you will know the pressure of your deadlines and projects, but where possible I would really urge you and your teams to take a break.

The reason is simple. The Christmas break is now the only time of year when you can actually mentally stop. Mobile devices and international time zones mean that we are now all shackled to instant communication and that is not healthy.

Everyone, regardless of their level, needs time to pause, think and rest the brain. Architecture is a creative endeavour and the demands of modern business mean that less and less time is devoted to just thinking.

Use this one time of the year when clients will accept that you are unavailable to turn off the phone and relax. We will all benefit from better buildings if you have a chance to rest and recharge. Have a wonderful break and see you in 2013.

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Readers' comments (5)

  • A pointless article. The profession is in unrealised trouble.

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  • Yes, let's 'enjoy' the christmas break, 11 days off, so when we come back in the new year, we'll be producing fantastic architecture....hmmmm.

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  • "...The reason is simple. The Christmas break is now the only time of year when you can actually mentally stop. Mobile devices and international time zones mean that we are now all shackled to instant communication and that is not healthy..."

    Maybe (?)

    Cast your minds back to Star Wars episode V “The Empire Strikes Back”, whereby is the proposition that a communicator (Lando’s right hand man Lobot) has a belt of mobile phones strapped around his head to be in constant telecommunication, while Lando (depending on Lobot) swaggers around unabated in mere cotton.

    One has to ask oneself: do I want to be Lobot; or do I want to be Lando?

    I would personally find greater comfort in the latter, how about others? I bet some of us would cheekily rather lean in the other direction, with the former...

    I did zilch social networking during all office work (and in-between) up until my last permanent job in 2008, but admit a little during 2011 (outwith office hours though) as I knew it was a very short term fill-in post. I may be wrong, but I get the impression that it's been largely the Lobot types that have hung onto their jobs despite the recession’s mass redundancies. If so, then why? It’s also rather unnerving when trying to change in uni communal changing rooms (circa mid 2000s onward) and invariably a veritable Lobot comes to sit nearby and points its lens in your direction no matter what time of day with no interest in changing. I don’t really mind any likewise - let’s call ‘em - Lobots when commuting to Edinburgh on train; or invariably when going up on a Cineworld lift in Europe’s tallest multiscreen tower, except in the back of my mind is always the Newsround article (scaremongering/bluffing perhaps) that said overuse [esp. in metal container (?)] would form lumps in your head like the speci-man interviewed, which has never really been proved/disproved. Old hat I know, albeit we seemed to have not erred on the side of caution. Obviously the youngsters who invariably begin to communicate once into the lift have likely not seen that old Newsround article, but then again neither perhaps have the commuting adult Lobots. Would they think twice on the contrary, or have some already called Newsround’s bluff etc.; or are we perhaps simply just Lobot orientated at heart in search for Landos to sidekick?

    If the Lobot thing or possibility does actually transpire in the future, perhaps that’ll be enough to throw people off the path for good and restore the concept ‘to err on the side of caution’.

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  • Keith, what on earth are you talking about?

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  • bitter pill

    this is not news.

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