My long-time dream was to work from home. In particular, I hate rush hour traffic, and I hate driving when it’s -20 and a blizzard. Getting there was a significant barrier to being there.
So when COVID hit and we were forced to work from home, I thought it was a blessing in disguise. Here was my chance to experience working from home guilt-free. After all, client meetings were taking place virtually and became the approved norm. No driving. No parking hassles. Yippee.
But what I didn’t factor in was the relationships with my co-workers and how that changed. Sure, we were connected by phone, email, Zoom, Slack, Asana… you name it. It’s not the same.
Nothing beats seeing someone in person.
Since June, our little team have been back at the office. It’s so nice to spend a few minutes each day chatting with staff (how was your weekend?). It helps us to get to know each other as people, not just co-workers. It’s also much easier to pop by someone’s office with a quick update (that proof is with the client and we’ll hear back tomorrow…). You wouldn’t bother posting something like that to Slack.
This connectedness is something that’s hardwired into human beings. We’re ‘pack animals.’ We need to be around others. That’s why solitary confinement is such a harsh (cruel) punishment in prisons.
We have taken all the necessary safety measures during this pandemic. Each person works in his/her own office, separated from anyone else. Masks, sanitizer, social distancing – these things have become normal.
For those who thought office space would become irrelevant in 2020, I don’t think so. We need each other too much.