The Italians got it right. When confined to your home, shout from the rooftops.
This was the week when every friend who had resisted was finally forced to make the switch.
Go fully virtual. Work from home. Video-communicate.
And stay connected.
It’s an emotional adjustment, I know. What I value most about my work is intimate connection with other humans. I spent years holding on to the belief that true connection can only happen in-person. That there simply was no substitute. Three years ago, when my 92-year-old mom had a stroke, I ended up spending most of my year shuttling back and forth between Germany, where she resides, and my home in South Florida. I had to adjust. I was suddenly video-working from my hotel room in Bonn. A lot. A whole lot.
How freeing that was. How utterly freeing.
I could serve multiple Gods at the same time.
I learned that the thing I crave most in my work – intimacy – was attainable via Zoom (my preferred medium).
In those initial months of commuting to Bonn I made a life-changing decision: I decided to sell my international training and coaching firm. I went whole-hog virtual.
My argument, writes Sherry Turkle in her marvelous book “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age,” is not anti-technology. It’s pro-conversation. We miss out on necessary conversations when we divide our attention between the people we’re with and the world on our phones. Or when we go to our phones instead of claiming a quiet moment for ourselves. We have convinced ourselves that surfing the web is the same as daydreaming. That it provides the same space for self-reflection. It doesn’t.
I am also pro-conversation. But unlike Turkle, I no longer believe that technology is the enemy. I’m tired of the old technology-is-a-distraction argument.
Here’s my invitation for us all. As the physical world around us is shutting down, go virtual. Whole-hog virtual. And because research for decades has shown us that 80% of our communication is visual and not the words we utter, go visual-virtual.
Let’s see each other.
Like a lot. From the sanctuary of our homes.
In this time of global shutdown, claim technological connection. It is our visual friend.
Miss your colleagues at work? See each other.
Have to talk to one of your team members? See each other.
Speaking with a new business prospect? See each other.
Shout across the world. Let’s see each other.
Embrace the joys of not commuting.
Time for more intimacy.
Time for more of the self-reflection Sherry Turkle advocates for.
Time, really, for a very different way of working.
Someone asked me the other day what do you think could be a positive outcome of this pandemic we’re facing? The question felt a little premature. It’s not where my heart is today. But if I were forced to answer it would unequivocally be this: A very different way of working.
Stay pro-conversation. Stay connected. Go visual.
Be intimate, a lot.
Shout across the world.
And please stay healthy and be well.