So you put on something nicer, because doing so helps you to feel … nicer. You miss doing this.
It’s time for your daily commute.
You walk from your bedroom to the dining table via the kitchen.
Or, you might be lucky enough to have claimed a ‘home office’ (those two words really should never be used together in a sentence, but here we are).
You sit and think about the commute you used to have. And what you think about most are the people you became used to seeing every day.
You didn’t speak to them but you often exchanged eye contact and a smile. And you could just tell how they were feeling from how they looked at you and the clothes they wore that day.
You would know if something was up or whether they were ok. You created mini-stories for yourself about these people, many of whom were doing exactly the same about you.
“Why did ‘Miss Window Seat’ always wear the same shoes? you’d think to yourself, almost saying it out loud. You’re determined to chat with her if you ever have the chance to see her again.
Another freaking zoom meeting!
Your boss mentions again how good the productivity levels are proving to be. However, is this anxiety-related or a result of undistracted work time?
Afterwards, you wonder if you’re going stir crazy because you long for those face to face meetings you used to dread. “What is wrong with me!?” you ask, out loud.
And now you finally settle into your workday. At home. Likely, alone.
If this is you, you’re missing what most of us are missing. Connection with others and a simple sense of belonging.
Outside of your home environment. Whether on your commute or at the office. Or in the cafe or during the lunchtime rush.
There’s an energy exchange, a sharing between people when we’re together, that can’t be replicated by video meetings.
Sometimes it’s verbal, sometimes not. And we need it as human beings. We long for it. We are social creatures.
Just knowing others are around, encourages feelings of connection and safety. Even if we have no idea who they are or anything about them.
We all need connection with others to survive and to thrive, with our mental health intact.
It’s also called community. And the office, for the most part, provides that.
Some of the most progressive companies in the world have stated many of their concepts and greatest innovations are a result of remarks, quips, responses and off the cuff conversations had between colleagues simply bumping into each other within the workplace. Often whilst waiting for their coffee!
So whilst the Peter Drucker’s of the world claim the breakdown of the office was inevitable and is way overdue, we and many of you, beg to differ.
We’re humans after all. Not resources.
Got a couple more minutes? Read an edited version of In Praise of the Office, here.