Chris Grinder: So…..hello, hello…good morning all...can everyone hear me ok? Hello?... (Silence) So…erm…I’m just gonna pop everyone on un-mute…can everyone hear me now? (Various): Yes You’re a bit muffled Chris. Hello – I don’t know if my mic is working. What? So sorry – I’ve had connection problems – sorry I’m late – have I missed anything? Hello? Morning all. Chris – your cam keeps freezing. Can anyone hear me? How does this work? Hello…hello…hello…one, two, three, testing. Where am I? Anyone hear me? See me? Yes, loud and clear Christopher. Chris Grinder: OK everyone, so welcome, I want to keep this as brief as possible this morning as I know everyone is busy. Before I start can I just point out to everyone here who is currently furloughed, that this meeting is absolutely NOT work, OK? You guys are just here to observe. You are not working, OK? So let me see…who’s on furlough right now? So…er…that’s Lucy S, Jess, Mandy, Emily, Lucy J and Sophie…right? Oh, and Claudette…sorry Claudette…didn’t see you there. And those here who are currently still working and on payroll are…let me see… Dave D, Dave T, Harry, Steve, Paul, Jason, Terry, Dave S and Big Dave…OK… David Willis: I’m here too, Chris. Chris Grinder: Right…yes…sorry Dave….and Dave…Dave W. OK…so let’s kick off. Wow…Steve…are you in San Francisco? Steve Todd: Yeah…I’m working from home – my Californian home, hehe. Chris Grinder: Love it, Steve…and now I see you are off in the galaxy somewhere – I love that one too. Have to love this technology, eh? Oh Steve….stop it now – that one is too much – I didn’t know they did that one…what’s it supposed to be? A dingy squat somewhere in the inner-city, eh? Complete with dodgy poster in the background? Love it! Oh …right…right… …so, anyway…the reason I’ve called us all together here this morning is because I want to encourage a bit of brainstorming and blue-sky thinking about the future of ‘Office Stuff 4U’. I fully understand that everyone is concerned about the future. Me too. But those of you who know me well will know that I’m a born optimist. Present me with a problem and I’ll turn it into an opportunity. And I believe that there is a future for us here…most of us anyway…some of us at least…if we work together and look for the emerging opportunities in office furniture. Office furniture has been my life so far…and I intend it to be my future too. It was not for no reason that after 25 years of service as CEO at ‘Desk Innovation Inc.’ I was presented with a leaving card addressed to ‘Mr. Ideas’. And of course for all of you who work closely with Harry – morning Harry – love the shirt there this morning Harry…you’ll know that Harry worked as my deputy for 20 of those years. And that Harry has been pivotal in the success of ‘Office Stuff 4U’ to date. Under my direction of course. Eh, Harry? Harry Bigson: Yes Sir! Haha! Emily John: I’m sorry Chris, but, erm, I’m really struggling to hear you…it sounds like you’re in a wind-tunnel or something. I only caught a few words of that. Chris Grinder: Hi Emily…didn’t catch that…maybe your mic settings need adjusting? Perhaps chat to one of the tech guys after the meeting if you’re struggling. Emily John: I’m sorry but… Chris Grinder: I’m conscious of time…so…moving on…the first thing I want us to think about this morning is potentially updating our tag line to something that reflects the new, post-pandemic world of work and the new and exciting world of office furniture. So…who can remind us of our current tag line? Claudette Henry: 'Quality Fittings for Luxurious Sittings'? Is that right? Paul White: 'Quality Fittings for Luxurious Sittings!' Chris Grinder: Spot on there, Paul. Good man. Now then…let’s be clear here…I absolutely do not want to lose the notion of quality and luxury for the office…this is what I’m known for…what we are known for…but I think it’s time to think a bit more creatively. As I’m sure some of you know…despite my sharp business focus and acumen, lots of people refer to me as ‘Creative Chris’. Haha. But this is not all about me. I want to hear your ideas. So…I’m just gonna pop everyone into a breakout room. And these rooms are completely random…so you could find yourself in a room with anyone…and I want you, in groups to come up with a new strap-line for Office Stuff 4U for the new world…then we’ll come back into the main room and one person from each breakout room will share their ideas. OK? Right… Sophie Sharpe: Chris, couldn’t we just discuss ideas as one big group – I’d like to hear everyone’s ideas? Chris Grinder: Thanks for that Sophie. But actually it’s quite simple…I can just decide the number of breakout rooms and the number of people I want in each room…and the software just randomly allocates people to rooms…it really isn’t that complicated… Sophie Sharpe: Yes I understand. I’m sorry but… Chris Grinder: So here we go…don’t be alarmed if I suddenly appear in your breakout room, hehe – I’m not checking up on you…but I can move from room to room to see how you are getting on. Here we go… (Breakout Room 2) Chris Grinder: Ello...ello…ello... It’s me, Chris. How are you getting on? Any great ideas so far? Lucy Jenner: We’ve only just started Chris. Can I ask a question please? Chris Grinder: Fire away Sophie. Lucy Jenner: It’s Lucy Chris Grinder: Of course it is…Lucy Lucy Jenner: Sorry, but…I can’t speak for others Chris but I’m finding it tricky to think creatively about the future right now when everything is so cloudy. Personally I desperately need some clarity…I understand that there are lots of unknowns and these are unprecedented times, but when are we likely to know how many of us will still have jobs when the government support tapers off? I mean, realistically, do you think we should be expecting redundancies? If so, when? It really is quite an anxious time for people right now. Chris Grinder: Absolutely Soph…er Lucy…I hear your entirely. And I can assure you that staff welfare is and always has been my priority. You probably know that in my last role people often referred to me as ‘Compassionate Chris’. So I assure you that there will be lots of support for all staff. But yikes…we’ve only got one minute left in the breakout rooms. See if you can come up with some ideas for our strap-line…or just some key words if you’re finding it difficult. See you in the main room…byeeeee… (Breakout Room 4) Chris Grinder: …so hello…it's me...just visiting...how’s it going? Jason Nash: Hiya Chris…so we were just playing around with some key words…Finest – Dynamic – Big – Powerful – Winner – Futuristic.. Chris Grinder: Futuristic! Wow, yeah I like that one, Jase. Great work. Any other thoughts? Mandy Moore: Hi Chris. I was wondering if things like collaboration, reaching out to clients, diversity for the changing world, perhaps something to reflect that our furniture is made responsibly…you know, demonstrating real concerns for the future of the planet? I don’t know…what do you guys think? Chris Grinder: Yes definitely Mandy – I like all that stuff. Maybe that’s the kind of thing we should have in our values, or whatever…you know. But hey I really like Power, Dynamic, Big. These are words that tell people who we are. Love it. Oh here we go…see you back in the main room…. (Main Room) …so welcome back everyone. I hope you found that interesting. OK…so let’s have some feedback. Oh…looks like we have some technical issues…where is everyone?...I can’t see anyone…can you guys hear me?...where?...what? I’m just going to bring up a poll when we are all back…the polls are great…you can vote anonymously…letting me know how you found the exercise. And then I’m going to share some slides with you about my ideas for the future…then we can work on the whiteboard. Hello? Hello? Er, hello?…am I talking to myself here? It’s me Chris…hello?
(Image: Pippa Fowles. No copyright infringement intended.)