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Connecting on a human level

Connecting on a human level

“In a world of increasingly digitised interactions, connecting on a human level is more valuable than ever.” When I typed those opening words for the introduction of Trusted, the book I co-authored in 2017, I never dreamed just how prophetic they would be for 2020, the year Covid-19 broke out.

I have worked remotely, on and off ever since I first became self-employed in 1997, so I am not finding the current imposed working from home much of a change. Admittedly, I don’t usually spend all of my time at home, I spend much of my time on client site or networking and out at meetings. Other than the lack of physically seeing people, it’s been fairly usual for me.

What I have noticed in the last few weeks since the government advice on lock down came out, is the huge rise in video calls. The technology has become much more reliable, so it is easier than ever to hold video calls. It’s amazing how everyone seems to feel this great desire to be able to see each other, rather than just speak on the phone. I’ve even managed to connect with my parents who are complete technophobes on Messenger calling (the only option they had on their phones) for daily catch ups.

As one of business friends said, ‘You see a window into other people’s worlds on video calls.’ We’ve all seen kids, pets, partners and a little bit of their homes too. It helps us to feel more connected and to feel as though we know each other a little better. Many have relaxed their dress codes too, it’s often smart casual or even casual as we are working at home.

There is so much talk of the negative side of our current situation. Without wishing to trivialise it as I am hugely sad about the people who are ill or have lost their life and incredibly grateful and admiring of all the front-line workers who are all doing their best to keep us safe and well. I’d like to make a case for the positives that are coming out of this imposed lockdown. You know me, glass always half-full!

From a business perspective I have observed that even those who don’t normally connect and only answer the business-related questions in emails, generally ignoring the niceties, have become more lucid in their communication and have happily set up coffee catch-ups on video conference.

It all goes back to our desire to connect with other humans. We are complex characters and when we are suddenly deprived of something, we want it even more! (Think back to a time you decided to go on a diet, only to find that you craved chocolate more than ever!) We have all adapted to our enforced social deprivation by connecting in any way we can. I’ve noticed that people are, generally speaking, being kinder, more collaborative, connecting more. I’ll be glad to see the back of Covid-19, but I do hope some of these positive human behaviours are here to stay.

How about you, what do you hope remains long after lockdown?