Intentional Workplace Connections

I visited a client the other day. After two+ years of working with them, this was the first time I had met many of them in person. We ordered lunch and all ate together.

Turns out that even though one of them lives about an hour from my house, he often goes surfing at the same local breaks that I do.

Certainly, a good connection was made, over food and several conversations throughout the day.

I had an in-depth conversation with one of them about regular office attendance cadence. The “hybrid” workplace seems to be gaining momentum, but this is far different from a requirement, and remote.

The value, he argued, was the ability to whiteboard together, and the great work that historically come out of these sessions. Or the small chit-chat after a meeting, where someone has the opportunity to pull another aside and ask, “Hey, can we talk more about X real quick?”

Add to that the interactions that can be summed up as a happy coincidence and the random addition of another co-worker joining in.

My perspective is the opposite of this, and that office requirement and hybrid scenarios are not advantageous.

People do their best work in the environment they’re most comfortable in, living the lifestyle they’re most fond of. Perhaps this is at their desk looking at trees out their window, or in a big city filled with life, or near family on a mountain top.

Communication is paramount. Concise, written communication can be consumed with others at their leisure, when it doesn’t interrupt their workflow, and they can respond at their convenience. It takes diligence and discipline for the author. And time, too. But the total time is far less than gathering several people for a real-time meeting.

Plenty of meetings happen unnecessarily. Many “slides” during a screen share are impossible to read, filled with too much data.

I do love the interpersonal connection, and I think this should happen strategically a few times a year in remote companies. Team building goes a long way, and makes remote work even better.

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