Google Hangout with me.
Textâ€¦ if I donâ€™t answer those.
Email â€¦as a last resort.
And call meâ€¦ if itâ€™s an emergency.
This isnâ€™t how IÂ feel,Â but this is howÂ it is. Itâ€™s the modern way we work. And itâ€™s great, mostly, but it deceives us into some false assumptions if we arenâ€™t careful about real time versus screen time with people.
All of us are so grateful for the connection economy that we rarely question the need to look-into-thine-eyes. The truth is that our worlds rely on this incredible world of multi-media-multi-platform communication â€“ itâ€™s the only way I get to live in a seaside village in Massachusetts with good schools and .03% crime, and the only way you get to do business in Colorado, India, New York, Berlin, China or San Francisco from a juice bar in LA. Thereâ€™s no argument there.
But nothing â€“ ever â€“ will replace or stand in for real time, together, in the same room. Not all the time. ButÂ someÂ times.
When you donâ€™t see your team for long enough, Feelings (capital F intentional) emerge. Stories mount. Illusions become conclusions. Tone festers. When partners / employees / stakeholders donâ€™t spend time in the same space, they donâ€™t relax into all the benefits of true human connection. As much as we love our agility and flexibility and our short commute from kitchen to office, we also rightfully yearn for reassurance that when I see blue, you also see blue. And, that you and I are more than just animated screens with a scope of work to perform for a check each month.
You relish and live off of the words of your lover after days or a few weeks of separation. But weeks that turn into months that turn into quarters that turn into seasons? Thatâ€™s not a relationship that youâ€™d choose â€“ in fact if youâ€™ve ever been there, youâ€™ll notice that problems that were never there, or that were only a whisper, turn into a shout. Contact is curative. The same happens between work teams. We all benefit from periodic â€˜touchâ€™. The virtual workforce is a miracle and blessing, but donâ€™t mistake it for what happens when people share air.
Make time for face time.
The airfare / cab fare / gas prices / walk down the hall â€¦pay for themselves in a bank account of better vibes and most likely, better work.