Last week, something magical happened in the office.
It all started the week prior, when our team was trying to decide how to celebrate one of our birthdays. Over the course of this pandemic, we’ve done a number of things to keep this part of our bonding alive. Sometimes we each take an hour and send the birthday person a special email message. Other times we take pictures of us celebrating the other person’s birthday and send it to them. We’ve had cake delivered to homes and recorded all of us trying to sing the birthday tune and record it on Zoom. (It really did turn out like those hilarious viral videos!)
As we were trying to figure out what special thing to do this time for our colleague, someone suggested a really radical thing…let’s all be in the office, together. Wow. Okay- let’s do this! We all have our precautions, and can socially distance, etc. Let’s make a go of it!
That Tuesday morning arrives. One by one, we enter our office to get our day started. By 9:00am, each individual office is full. The coffee pot is on its second round of brewing. And there’s a little buzz in the air. This – togetherness – is happening!
It doesn’t take long for each of us to fall into habits of old, where we’re talking across the hall at one another, sharing knowledge not through the strokes of a keyboard, but through the verbal intonations of our voices. The buzz is much, much louder. We’re not fazed by the masks, the distance between us, or the continual use of hand sanitizers. And the coffee pot keeps brewing.
Then, the magical moment happens! A few of us are talking about how THC affects the ability for us to put some people to work, even though it’s legal in our state. The conversation continues on about the ability to determine whether someone is intoxicated by the substance, or not, at any given time. Someone shares the newest development in this – an eye screen.
From out of nowhere, another college jumps into the conversation. “Did I just here you talk about TCH ice cream?” Laughter erupts! The buzz continues for hours. Some serious conversation, and much ado about TCH ice cream, if there ever was a thing. We certainly wouldn’t have had that if we had stayed remote for the day.
Here’s my take-away: remote work is fantastic if it can happen. Sharing of knowledge, connection amongst the team – it can all be made to happen through the keyboard and screen. That said, there’s still something really special about the spontaneity of working in-person with your colleagues. Or at a minimum, working in person with other individuals (should you be at a coworking space, that is).
If you’re a leader of a team, a department, or an organization, find a few ways to bring people together once in a while. It’s a great way to lift spirits just a bit higher, to find funny ways to bond. Encourage laughter and humor, because these hold natural healing powers for our spirits, foster harmony among relationships and deepen the bonds. Recognize when those little moments of magic happen – because they will. It’s worth it.