A social dilemma.

“Interaction with others opens up new and exciting possibilities. Meeting people stimulates our minds, gives us energy, leads to more new encounters and infinitely expands our life and our world.”

Daisaku Ikeda

Let’s talk about the back to the office debate. I am noticing article after article about the positives and negatives of going back to the office environment. Poll after poll about who would prefer to continue working from home and who wouldn’t. Is productivity up or is it down. Do managers want to micro-manage or are they happy leading from a distance.

And then there is the anxiety. How many people are suffering from anxiety about going back to the office. Does going back support or hinder our mental health.

All good information. All good points.

But what I haven’t read about is the social aspect. It could be out there… I just haven’t seen it.

Pre-Global Pandemic, I had a lot of conversations with people about the younger generation growing up with social media and smart phones and consequently, a lack of live social interaction. These conversations always ended up with concern for a lack of social skills and ability to interact with others.

Have we forgotten how important this is? Are we suddenly not concerned about it?

I am not saying we all need to go back to working in an office. I am just saying that maybe we need to think further on this. And if productivity is up with working from home, does it come at a cost?

Last year I decided to leave my place of employment. A job where I had to go to an office daily. I now work from home permanently and I will honestly admit, it is hard. I have learned to make a point of ensuring I do not have 2 days in a row where I don’t leave the house. Whether it is for client appointments or dinner with friends or simply running to the grocery store.

I need people. I need social interaction. Now, I know I am an extrovert so it is important to me. But I truly believe it is important to everyone. I believe no matter how extroverted or introverted you are, we all need people.

We need to look people in the eyes and see them. Not through a screen but live and in person. We need to laugh with each other. Share with each other. Be with each other. And yes, even hug each other.

So maybe we will lose a little productivity standing around the water cooler talking about our latest Netflix binge but… maybe not. Maybe that water cooler time will energize us and fuel us to be more creative. More focused. More productive.

Just my two cents.

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