This is the kind of day where people either squeeze as much work into their day as possible so that they can leave the office early tomorrow or begin coasting because the prospect of a long weekend is so tempting there’s little else to think about. Either way you go (and I would venture to guess that there are very few who defiantly reside somewhere in the middle), own your day. Everyone has times when they just can’t intensely focus on the work in front of them. Conversely, our concentration is not always laser-like, powered by energy and commitment. Just raise your hand and own it – so that others don’t feel isolated by your focus or annoyed at your laissez-faire, possibly misunderstanding your actions completely.
It’s funny how such candor is anathema in the workplace. Somehow it’s not ok to have an ‘off’ day. That just defies reality. Rather than reflecting authenticity, people will try to maintain an illusion of busy-ness at all times. One of the many things I loved about most of the people I worked with was their willingness – and trust in me – to be able to admit when their heads were elsewhere, if a project was just sapping their enthusiasm, or if they were crushing to make a deadline and needed more hands. I have no illusions looking back, which is why I inserted the word “most”. I had my share of coasters and boasters, people who were hell-bent on kidding me almost as much as they were kidding themselves. I still believe that allowing people the room to move within the rhythm of their lives when possible is the far better way to go. I was able to keep my headcount low, people cross-trained and facile by creating an environment which emphasized personal ownership of the day ahead. And laughter – yeah, there was a lot of laughter. And an enormous amount of individual and collective effort. All it took was encouraging people to raise their hands.