RETURNING TO THE OFFICE FOR COLLABORATION
Months of lockdown, social distancing and work from home (WFH) from COVID-19 have forced everyone to adapt to the new norm. People’s livelihoods all over the world are largely affected as a result. Although this year we have seen the power of human perseverance like never before, it should be worried that loss of human interaction and loss of collaboration is leaving lasting impacts on our lives.
A lot could go wrong when people are no longer able to interact face-to-face. Collaboration as well as creativity is suppressed considerably. As a result, work progress will never be the same. In the previous blog, I have duly discussed the challenges of working from home which you can read more here. That being said, returning to a common shared workplace is not only beneficial for those looking to work and breathe outside their cozy homes. But it will also be important for long-term business success.
Benefits of Face-to-Face Interaction
Humans are social animals – we are wired from the dawn of civilization to interact with one another. The pandemic especially proved this fact to its core; the fact that we are still reaching out to each other even digitally shows that we cannot live without social interaction. However, without in-person human interaction in the workplace today, we are at risk of staying in our individual shells for a long time. Being in our own individual shell means staying isolated, away from those who would hold us accountable. This will not be possible and comfortable in the long run.
Virtually, it is easier to be selective on whom you interact with by using the “Follow”, “Unfollow”, or “Block” button. We would only choose to surround ourselves with those who believe in the same values as ours because it is just much more comfortable. But this is not the case when you go into a shared workspace. Here is where you will be forced to meet and interact with different kinds of people. It’s not possible to run away from talking to people with different perspectives, who do not possess the same values, or who don’t think the same way.
Nevertheless, it is the act of listening to and exchanging different perspectives that can produce the most creative and innovative solutions. Just like how different forces of friction can create fire, we need forces of different opinions to create an idea. It is crucial that everyone is allowed to be outside their own shell to create better, innovative solutions to make the world a better place. Hence why returning to the shared workspace and meet all kinds of people is still the best idea.
Returning to the office safely
It is still rooted in our belief that returning to face-to-face interactions is likely to happen again in the future. We all want to get back to normal, that is, to interact, travel across the world and meet people from different countries again. The fact that we started exercising health guidelines in our daily lives shows how much we are all trying to bring back the normal life, and to get back to the workspace again.
But until the vaccine is ready for the world, we will still maintain social distancing and wearing masks. And until then, going hybrid – working from home and working from the office only when necessary – is perhaps the most viable solution right now.
Nevertheless, we know that we are all anticipating the vaccine for us to live like normal and getting back to the office faster. It is already in us that we want to socialize like we used to, so that we could collaborate innovatively, meet different minds and share viewpoints outside our own shells and introduce more innovative ideas to make this world a better place.
Let’s stay vigilant, resilient and careful in bringing back normalcy of real, human interaction into our lives. And collaborating in the workspace will finally be possible to reach.