I remember my first impressions of the New Zealand business world when I arrived from England in 1982, just after the Springbok Tour. As an Auditor I visited many New Zealand companies and experienced firsthand the daily procession to morning tea. Looking back, I do recall some interesting characteristics of this ritual, such as: older staff had been around long enough to know “just about everything” and were treated as mentors; staff morale was high, with a real “team spirit”; Mondays were full of weekend stories; and everybody seemed to know what was going on.

I also remember later, as a Management Consultant, how pleased I was to see this inefficient process disappear in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Some may think that the 80’s have a lot to answer for, others may say that work today has lost a lot of the fun and communication. You may think that, but as Urquhart would say “I can not possibly comment”.

I wish to focus on the issue of the morning tea which, strange as it appeared to me then, seems so sensible now.

The benefits include:

  1. Reducing the number of phone calls you need to make
  2. Reducing the number of emails in your inbox
  3. Reducing the number of  committee meeting as issues can be aired over a cup of tea
  4. The enforced break helps you maintain a sense of perspective

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