I was reading a book (one of the actual printed kind if you can remember those) and when I came to the end of a page, I automatically tapped the right page with my finger, expecting it to change electronically. I immediately realized what I’d done and laughed at myself! But it also made me realize how completely engrained technology has become in my life.
That’s not a bad thing. I love having access to lots of books on my e-reader as opposed to lugging around printed copies; it is much more convenient (although I don’t get the arm weight exercises I used to). And I love being able to easily look up information whenever I need, whether to answer a question, settle a disagreement, get directions or whatever.
But we can’t forget the physical and human interactions in our lives or take them for granted.
When you’re meeting with your team, are you distracted by your electronics? Is your head down looking at your phone/laptop or are you looking around and meeting the eyes of your staff? Do you have any electronic free zones/times so you’re not being interrupted or constantly sidetracked?
I have been in multiple meetings where everyone is looking down at their screens and not really paying attention to the actual human beings in the room. With the push for return to office in so many organizations, this strikes me as ironic.
Are you making the most out of your in-person collaborations? If not, what are you missing and/or what message are you conveying to your team? Who/what is the most important thing in the room--the people you work with or the electronics in your hands?
I do think in most cases a hybrid arrangement works best for everyone—some in office time, some remote time. But in doing so, when we are together in the office, if we aren’t really focused on our in-person interactions, what’s the rationale for bringing people back in?
As we move further from many of the worst aspects of the pandemic, let's not forget one of the lessons many of us hopefully learned—people need people. Let's put down the electronic gadgets we’re so focused on and truly concentrate on each other.