I realised how important the social glue of interactions before and after meetings are. There is the ability to just pull someone aside to say something that doesn’t take more than 45 seconds. Or to pay attention to actual visual cues of other people while someone else is speaking. Or to just be a little more fuzzy with time and disappear somewhere when things ends early. Now, in the world of video calls and packed schedules, we need to be deliberate about all that. We also need to be deliberate about creating breaks between meetings, the fake ‘commute’ across buildings or just between meeting rooms.
And the kind of ‘tap on the shoulder’ conversation. It now feels weird to be ‘going to someone’ just to say one or two thing – ie. give them a call on the phone or video conference software – must no longer stop us from doing so. Now it’s less efficient to call together 5-6 people together and get them to chip in for a birthday gift to a colleague compared to just shouting out in the office when that birthday guy/girl is away. Yet if this is the only way we can go about it, we just have to do it this way.
Technology has improved tremendously to allow for deeper, better social interactions and they continue to advance. Sure, they might ever beat the actual, in-person interactions. But for someone terminally ill to meet his/her son/daughter who is miles away in another country, technology makes a huge difference. A video call could bring incredible amount of closure. We simply must look to these substitutes to achieve the results we need. It’s going to be important for our mental health.