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Business lifestyle ideas to keep staff happy

Work, rest and play is the mantra for splitting up your day and creating work-life balance, but who says they need to be separate? Here are some business lifestyle ideas to keep staff happy, give yourself a break or to indulge in some of the finer things in life.

Work–Play Balance
Your office may not be a Googleplex full of toys like the famed search engine, but you don’t necessarily need a dedicated games room to keep staff happy. Sharing with staff can have as small a footprint as providing a coffee machine for a morning perk-up, or some wall space for a flat screen TV to glimpse the latest score at the cricket.
For a space the size of a standard cubicle, you can expand your repertoire to a foosball table, a pinball machine or a games console such as a Nintendo Wii (RRP $399.95; www.nintendo.com.au), Microsoft Xbox (RRP $399.95 for the 360; www.xbox.com.au) or a Sony Playstation (RRP $999.95 for the PS3; www.playstation.com.au). Friendly competition boosts staff morale, renews their energy levels and helps them focus on something other than work, to clear their headspace and keep them fresh. Better yet, you don’t need to be a whiz on the controller; programs like Wii Games (Nintendo) and Singstar (Playstation) don’t rely on too many buttons, and only take a few minutes to get through each round.

Kylie Bartlett
Founder, Quantum MUMS

Favourite gadget: Satellite navigation in my car. It’s taken the stress out of trying to read a street directory while driving.
First aspirational item: As someone obsessed with cars, my first aspiration was to buy a new Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, which I did on my 34th birthday.
Next on the wishlist: To set up a Quantum Residential Retreat where we can run Quantum MUMS, Quantum Lifestyle and eventually Quantum Kids personal and professional development programs.

Office Seating 
It matters where your business sits in the marketplace and it matters where you sit in your business. How about in the most comfortable chair in the office? The elegant leather and wood form of the aptly named President Chair (left) is a statement; it says ‘sit on me’ ($1,232; www.progressiveoffice.com.au). Or, if you’re a caring, sharing kind of boss, you may like a Homedics E-Lounger (right) to ease away stress. “Staff will often take some reading material or even a laptop, sit in the massage chair and use the downtime to complete some work,” says Nigel Hobbs of Sit Back & Relax (from $995; www.sitbackandrelax.com.au).
Then there’s entertainment; box seats at the opera for the arts buff, or a stadium corporate box to impress the sports nut.

David Moore
Director, Gloss Salon

Favourite gadget: There’s the four iPods, the two laptops, the desktop, the iTouch, the sat nav, the Blackberry, the PS3, the PSP and the DVD. My favourite part of all of them is the ‘OFF’ switch.
First aspirational item: Expanding the business enough to open a second salon. Now I’m looking for the third… I want 10 salons. I’m not working my butt off for nothing; I plan to enjoy the fruits of my labour.”
Next on the wishlist: A month in Europe then a week shopping in New York!

Make a Splash
There’s no doubt that impressive events make your business more memorable, but how do you get away from hosting parties and pulling stunts? Intimacy is the key when it comes to cruising with the Haines Signature 600C (from $54,000; www.thehainesgroup.com), fit for six. With a full galley option, sink and toilet facilities, you can cater on board and make sure you keep your clients’ full attention.
The boat can also be used as a treat for staff, or for a weekend out on the water, using the twin sleeping berths below deck. Don’t forget the fishing rods!

Chris Tourgelis
Director, Opus Design, Octopus and Sydney Urban Developments

Favourite gadget: My Philippe Starck alarm clock/weather station. It looks cool and tells me all about the weather at a glance.
First aspirational item: My Rolex Submariner watch. I bought it nearly ten years ago and I still love it.
Next on the wishlist: I am car mad, so a Porsche 911 would be nice, otherwise a trip to the Greek Islands would do the trick!

Luxury Settlement
If a calm blue ocean is your thing, a bit of relaxation at your own waterfront villa won’t go astray. Whisper Bay is a new luxury settlement at Airlie Beach, at the gateway to Queensland’s Whitsundays, built for the sailing community. The designer estate includes a range of resort-like apartments, villas and penthouses with space galore and plenty of private facilities.
And when you’re not on the water, take a ride in your BMW—Whisper Bay partner Doncaster BMW will provide a car with each property purchased. Choices range from a Mini Cooper Cabrio to accompany an apartment, to a BMW 335i Convertible for penthouse sales.
Interior design is also a breeze with furnishing packages provided by chic homewares brand Coco Republic, exclusively designed for the estate.
For more information, contact Peter Boyd (02) 9363 0477.

Jody Lennon
CEO, Kinetics

Favourite gadget: The Logitech QuickCam Pro. In the world of public relations, face-to-face contact with clients is invaluable. The QuickCam allows us to work closer with our international clients, saving time and money.
First aspirational item: Our bright and open house located in Fairlight on the northern beaches in Sydney. It’s a wonderful place to entertain, relax and play with our son after a busy week at work.
Next on the wishlist: You can’t buy one yet, it’s a gadget that would attach to a book, enabling you to absorb the contents of the book while sleeping at night. For something you can buy, I can’t wait to get my hands on an i-Mate Ultimate 8502 (smartphone).

Brand New Antique
Bespoke furniture is one way to own a beautiful object as individual as your business. Better yet, for the more pragmatic, furniture serves a practical purpose. Using antique materials including oak, stone and iron, Sally Beresford creates tailor-made furniture that will provide a talking point in any room. Beresford’s commissions, including boardroom tables and business desks, have come from high profile clients such as Kerry Stokes. Price depends on size and material used.

Sally Beresford
Founder, Sally Beresford Antiques

Favourite gadget: Griffiths spokeshave, a traditional English furniture finishing tool. This was the first of an ever-expanding collection of fine furniture tools that I use to give a unique and authentic finish to my tables and antique restorations.
First aspirational item: A John Coburn painting that hangs on our old sandstone wall. The colours and vibrancy bring a sense of fun and a splash of vivid colour.  It’s a very modern piece but still seems at home among 17th century furniture. It’s timeless.
Next on the wishlist: 10 days in the week or three arms, so that I can spend more time in the workshop, at the farm, tending our vineyard or more time to travel for design inspiration!

Art In Business
Art, whether displayed in a foyer, reception area, boardroom or office, speaks volumes about the culture of the business. “The power of art in a business space is underestimated,” says artist Wendy Hope. “An exciting, colourful work can excite the viewer into a frenzy of creativity; a quiet more traditional piece may have a calming effect, creating a relaxed vibe. The choice of artwork may even suggest personality traits of the executive who selected the piece for their office.”
Hope’s own experiences with art in business situations have proved prescient in the past. “When I visit a doctor or corporate business I always look at the artwork they have chosen for their surrounds and have a private critique about what kind of place it is. Although I hate to judge based on appearance, I am always surprised at how accurate it can be!”
Its subjective nature is also a stimulant, she says. “Art in an office or executive home can be the catalyst for great ideas, for stimulating thoughtfulness and emotion, having a very inspirational effect.”
Don’t forget that art can also be a good investment if you do your research properly, or you may just want to start your own private collection of pieces you like.


Wine Drinking
A toast to your successful business! Are you celebrating with a top drop? For the wine connoisseur, collecting bottles for your own cellar is as much a labour of love as it is a pleasure to drink. A hobby can be a great way to network, spilling into bon vivant entertaining.
Or, you can take it one step further and buy your own vineyard (or brewery, if you’re a beer-lover). Apart from a bottle of your best making a great gift for staff or clients, winemaking comes with its own rewards. What better feeling than nursing grapes from the vine into a bottle with your name on the label? Almost like birthing your business again.

Race to the Top
Let’s face it, you wouldn’t be where you are if you didn’t have at least a little bit of a competitive streak. Care for a little wager? Maybe buying your own racehorse will do the trick. You don’t need to outlay millions on a horse to see good returns. In addition to options such as co-ownership, sometimes it just takes some research to rein in a good buy. Businesses like Magic Millions (www.magicmillions.com.au) can help you with your purchase, which might make a good investment down the track.
Or, maybe you’re looking to upgrade your sponsorship of your local under-seven soccer team. Have you thought about sponsoring something bigger? Have you dared to think about buying your own sports team or club? Long time rugby league supporter Russell Crowe (part-owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs) and soccer fan Anthony LaPaglia (shareholder of Sydney FC) are just two actors who are also high profile sports team owners in Australia. If you want to do more than barrack at a match, enquire at your favourite team’s headquarters.

Living it up
Spend your first million, your next million, or your 200th million on living it up in style—and why not bring 100 friends with you for the party? Hilton Sydney has put together a Million Dollar Package, perfect for that milestone celebration. It starts with a first class arrival to the hotel in your Bentley Continental GTC convertible, dressed in tailored clothing by Henry Bucks, a coiffure by Joh Bailey, skincare by Payot—and don’t forget the huge, 12-carat Bunda diamond.
You and a partner will live in a master suite for two nights with your own Hilton host before heading to a full degustation dinner with 100 of your closest associates at Luke Mangan’s glass brasserie. Hey, if it’s good enough for Richard Branson…
The after party will take you to the Zeta Bar, set aside for your exclusive use, and when you’ve exhausted the view, your 100 guests can retire to their rooms, set aside on three executive floors of the hotel, all under your name. Breakfast and room service included, of course.

Adventure Travel
You’ve laboured long and hard on your business, but you might just be teetering on the edge of burnout. Take your mind off the stresses of running a business by reigniting a sense of excitement with a stint of adventure travel. Whether it’s crossing borders on the Trans-Siberian railway, or working up a sweat in the Malaysian jungle, the novel sights and sounds of different areas of the world can be a refreshing and inspiring direction for you and your business.
Thrillseekers might find death-defying activities reinvigorating, from careering down the ‘Death Road’ in Bolivia on two wheels, to taking on the world’s highest bungee jump in South Africa, or swimming with sharks in Tahiti.
But if you don’t need close shaves to remind you of all you hold dear, even exploring France by bicycle or breathing crisp air on a Bhutanese mountain trek can remind you of why it’s good to get out of the office once in a while.

Executive Cruising
No longer just the realm of hyperactive, partying youth or golden oldies on their last big trip, cruising for the executive set has come to the fore. Cruise lines now cater for travellers who just want to relax and leave everything behind. Most cruise fares include everything—from accommodation, food, entertainment and activities—except alcoholic drinks. The price you pay depends on the kind of berth you want. If you’re intensely private, perhaps a spacious room with a porthole would suit, or if you’re more likely to spend the entire time on a deck chair in the company of a good book, the room probably won’t matter too much.
Entertainment ranges from variety shows to cabaret, while activities could indicate a boule tournament or a water polo match. Cruise ships will also stop at a port of call for enough time to allow a short excursion to regain your land legs and explore new towns.
For relaxation, cruising may just be better than a massage.

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Adeline Teoh

Adeline Teoh

Adeline Teoh is a journalist with more than a decade of publishing experience in the fields of business, education, travel, health, and project management. She has specialised in business since 2003.

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