Television has not played a major role in my family's daily routine since the late 1990s when our Sony gave up the ghost and returned to the purgatory of deceased electrical devices. We chose not to replace it and have lived our lives sans TV for over 20 years. This choice has been a blessing and a curse. Among the curses is that I am often out of touch when our staff and business colleagues are ensconced in deeply animated conversations around the Game of Thrones, Tiger King, and during my lifetime, The Office.
I found myself visiting a relative many years ago and with some free time, decided to discover what all the fuss was about and started to watch an episode of The Office on DVD. I felt something was wrong--the characters were talking to the camera. It was surreal. I expressed to my family that I must have been provided an incorrect copy of the sitcom because clearly something was awry as television characters do not talk to the guy operating the camera. Of course, I was mistaken, the world had changed. Joke on me.
Our association office lease is up for renewal in July 2021 and the joke was almost on me, yet again. Let me explain. Tradition in the office leasing universe is for organizations like the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) to retain a real estate broker who negotiates the lease for new office space. The broker is paid a finder's fee by the building's owner, so in this case, we (NEHA) do not pay for the service. Likewise, when the building is identified, the lessee (NEHA) works with an architect to design the space and in most cases, the building management pays for most or all that service.
My e-mail inbox is inundated by brokers who desire to represent us: it is annoying. Given that we have about a year to move or remodel, selecting a broker is not a trivial decision. In January we retained a broker, chose an architect, and created a staff committee to work on the office issue. We factored in telework and my sensibilities of a casually elegant office. We threaded in longtime member Bob Powitz to determine if we could embed some of his historical environmental health artifacts into our new conceptual office design. The relocation train was chugging down the tracks. We surveyed staff to secure their preferences for where in the Denver metroplex they found desirable and what attributes, physical characteristics, and amenities would enhance their work life. As I jetted off for Wellington in early March to speak...