As humanity continues to venture down the path of digital reliance, the movement away from the office seemed inevitable [“Some firms have nixed the office; others are doubling down,” Nov. 12]. However, what wakeup call is needed to realize we are becoming more disconnected with each other?
Social engagement (the kind that doesn’t require a camera or screen) is a fundamental aspect of our development as a species. One can’t capture the true nature of a peer’s message without the ability to interpret body language. Mental health issues continue to spread like the plague as we look down at our phone screens for tailored news feeds while on the crosswalk instead of looking up for a friendly greeting from our neighbor.
Organizations are attempting to understand the new meaning of “culture” with the ever-increasing implementation of videoconferencing platforms for interaction internally and externally. In fact, how can an organization create or maintain culture without in-person engagement? Having a few minutes of windshield time to decompress from a meeting is no longer as important as managing a schedule wherein cramming additional videoconference meetings can be accomplished due to decreased travel time.
Perhaps this period will be viewed by future generations as a pivotal moment when we began to understand the importance of co-existing with technology, which may be regarded as critical to our evolution. They may also look back in disbelief knowing we allowed ourselves to become more dependent on our screens rather than putting greater emphasis on the importance of human interaction. Only time will tell.