Stella’s comment garnered a sideways glance from Darren who all but spit out his tongue. The look said, ‘what the hell’ since they’d agreed this wasn’t the time to broach the subject. He dropped his head in resignation. That’s Stella he thought. Always the unexpected.

Not that the subject matter was a surprise, they’d chatted about this earlier but they’d agreed to wait until everyone was in a more receptive mood. This could be tricky, very tricky. He knew, well they knew, that there would be some conflict over the decision to relocate the business. It was going to create difficulty for some because the commute would be longer, but it would be more profitable in the long run and they wouldn’t have to let anyone go.

Stella rose and tapped a pen against her coffee cup. Looking around the room she said, “You are all aware that our numbers are down.” Glancing around the room she noted anxious looks. “As a result, we’ve been forced to make a command decision. One that not all of you are going to appreciate but it has to be done or we’re going to have to make other cuts to staff which we aren’t prepared to do.” The resignation was written on every face.

Darren stood up as well. “It’s not horrid news but it’s not great either but it’s the only solution that works. We’ve found another location for the business and it’s a half hours drive which means longer commutes for some of you which is unfortunate and unavoidable.”

A quite voice piped up and asked, “Where?”

“Bairford.” A couple of gasps were heard and a voice replied, “Great!”

“Not ideal, but certainly much cheaper than here. We haven’t garnered any new clients in weeks and that means expenses are eating up profit and therefore salary. We don’t want to lose any of you. You are all too valuable for that.”

Stella took up the gauntlet, “Having said that, if you feel you’d rather leave than move, that choice and option is yours but we’d rather know sooner than later. As for those willing and able to move, we have a month to prepare which is cutting it close to the bone to say the least and will mean noses to the grindstone. “

“I need to know now with a quick show of hands, who is willing to help get the job done and are prepared to move with us?” Nearly every hand in the room went up. After a pause, she continued, “I see a couple of hands that didn’t go up. Are you willing to explain your position?”

Jason said, “I get this has to happen, but I can’t afford the extra time, I’m stretched to the max now what with the new babies. My wife’s exhausted, as am I but I can’t possibly see being able to eke out more time from our already hectic harassed schedule.” He sighed. “However, I will talk it over with Heather see what she says, and you’ll know by tomorrow.”

“I sincerely hope your able to work it out, Jason. I’m sorry it’s come to this, but we want you to stay,” looking around the room she continued, “each and every one of you. You are all incredibly valuable to the future of this enterprise. If there’s anything we can do to assist in this, Jason, let us know, we’ll try to accommodate you any way we can, whether that means arriving later, earlier, whatever it takes.” Jason’s relief was clearly visible!

“Anyone else?”

“What about you, Frank,” Darren asked, “I noticed your hand wasn’t raised either.” When he received no answer he continued, “Look, we’re all family here, we’re closer than a team and workmates, and every piece of information is vital for or against.”

“I just think you could have done more, found something.”

“Believe me, Frank, if that were a possibility, we’ve have jumped on it like it was our last meal.” His joke hit its mark and everyone relaxed slightly and then the quips began.

It was going to be ok, he thought. His eloquent sigh was only heard by Stella who peered at him with relief in her eyes.

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