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Editor’s letter: The snows of killjoy man heroes

Since you ask, no, I didn’t even try to go to work on White Monday or Tuesday
­ thanks to my daughter’s school ­ but then, I didn’t really have to. There was
nothing happening that required my physical presence in the office and I had my
laptop and my BlackBerry at home. Sod acting like Nanook of the North. Work
smarter, not harder, I say. And I have scores and scores and scores of emails
that prove I was, indeed, working, in case you ask.

Only later did I realise that many of us probably missed a trick. We thought
we were faced with two choices: strap a couple of tennis rackets to our feet and
the neighbour’s dog to a sledge and mush our way to work, or stay at home and
battle against the never-ending flow of emails.

Maybe there was a third option: stay at home, switch off all electronic
devices ­ laptop, BlackBerry, daytime TV ­ and think about the business and
contemplate whether there are better ways of doing what we currently do, if
there are things we could or should be doing that we aren’t, if there are
markets we should be tackling, techniques we should be adopting, weaknesses we
should be addressing, costs we should be saving, rivals’ lunches we should be
eating…

On the Wednesday after the snowfall I made it in to a breakfast briefing we’d
organised several weeks ago at which I presented the results of some Financial
Director reader research. One of the key findings in that was that two-thirds of
FDs said, “We aren’t creative enough in finding solutions to our problems.”

I reckon you can’t be creative if you’re hunched over a laptop or tapping
into a BlackBerry. And, personally, I find I never have enough working time away
from those damn things.

But you can be creative if you are suddenly presented with an opportunity to
disconnect from the screaming email, the flashing PDA. In short, if you can’t do
your so-called work. (And what’s wrong, asked one of our panellists ­ a former
FD ­ with spending a bit of time building snowmen with the kids? It’s not going
to happen again for a long while.)

Personally, I can’t wait for the next snow-in. When it happens, I just hope I
discover I’ve inadvertently left my laptop power lead at the office. Maybe there
should be a gong for the best idea brought into work the day after a snowstorm.

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