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How soon is Too soon?

Posted on Thu, 2017-11-16 18:30 by Kirsty Laing

I was picking up a birthday card last week when I realised that the Christmas soundtrack was on at full tilt. Too early, perhaps? After all, it was only just November, the fireworks had barely gone quiet! Is this the first twinkle of the magic of the festive period or ‘cheer’ imposed on the public, far longer than could possibly be sustained?

This week, there are less than 50 days to Christmas; roughly 1000 hours to go. According to the Santa hat-adorned cashier. Are you even excited yet? Or are you already fed up with half price chocolate calendars offers before the first door has even opened?

Then, there’s the big one. What are your thoughts on Christmas songs in the office? When, if at all, is it appropriate to “festivise” the, already notoriously controversial, workplace soundtrack?

I decided to canvas opinion in our offices. This topic, it seems, is even more contentious than a change in coffee brand, the perfect air conditioning setting, the use of a favourite mug or even seating arrangements!

It almost started a riot between the “Put Mariah Carey on, NOW” team and the “Perhaps a bit of Slade on the last day of work before the office party and only if we’re in the mood” team.

These rather ‘animated’ discussions got me thinking about the delicate artform of office compromise. The majority of modern office environments are open plan, we share and collaborate more than ever before where the ‘boundaries’ have never been less clear. Even the most forthright extroverts among us don’t want to share everything, and not all the time.

What about those in our offices who, because of their role, are unable to listen to any music or impact the office entertainment at any time of the year? Are they at risk of feeling isolated or ostracised from other teams?

What about the others again? The introverts and the ‘in-betweens’; are some people, by their nature, being forced to endure more than just excessive renditions of “Last Christmas” in Quarter 4? What can we do to encourage and keep the peace, joy and happiness in the office all year round?

My suggestion to this is simple and I apply it consistently in the projects I work on; Consider all the opinions and personalities that share the space and talk to the people who use it. Ask what they think and how they feel and consider how even the smallest decision might affect them.

I’m not sure it’s always possible to please everyone, but at least, a happy compromise be reached! A considered all-encompassing working environment is possible, if all are consulted, listened to and considered.

And our own Christmas challenge?

In headphones for members of team “NOW” preserving the standard office playlist for those who would rather save their festive enthusiasm until nearer the time. For my colleagues without access to music during their working day, a radio in the breakout area which can be changed throughout the day to suit all, even for a short time.

Full disclosure, I am firmly in the first group. I love everything festive and embrace the planning and preparation from midnight on Halloween. Carols paired with spiced candles is my ideal start to the festive period. However, in the spirit of office compromise, you’ll find me regularly humming ‘Jingle Bells’ at my desk for the next 50 days.

I hope your teams achieve your own perfect compromise and have a great festive season – whenever it starts for you…


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