Good things about WFH? No commute, no dress code, good coffee!
Bad things about WFH? The lack of social contact.
The lack of social contact really bothers us. Some of us miss the morning “hello” from our Life Sciences Director. Others miss the small talk in the cafeteria at lunchtime. And others miss the interaction that comes from a big pharma sales meeting.
But, despite its challenges, WFH has brought us together in a different way. A more intimate way. It’s stripped away the pretense and made us all a little more human. Hear us out…
Does anyone else think that there’s an intimacy on Zoom or Skype that you don’t get from a 30-second chat while waiting for your coffee to brew? There’s nothing spontaneous about a pre-planned video call, so we tend to talk — and, ultimately, listen — for much longer than a face-to-face conversation. Often in “real life,” we hear what someone says, but we rarely listen. But on video call, we’re actually listening.
“During this period of social isolation, video conferencing apps like Zoom preserve key requirements of the social brain, namely users’ ability to react in real-time and pay attention for long stretches,” says Psychology Today.
Plus, it’s kind of easier to get to know someone online. Perhaps our laptops function as a protective shield from our social awkwardness. Or maybe the physical distance from colleagues makes it easier to connect.
All we know: Video call can be a very intimate experience.
Online, we’re forced to communicate with our colleagues, whether we like it or not. This includes:
And, after months of Zoom and Skype calls, we have an interesting observation:
After seeing colleagues in the normalcy of their homes, with pets and kids and questionable wallpaper, we realize that everyone is the same. Those colleagues we don’t like? The ones who think they’re better than us? We can kind of relate to them now.
WFH has stripped away the “gloss” of everyday life. For months, many of us couldn’t go to the hair salon. But we still had to video call. All those split ends and exposed roots made everyone more human.
Then, every so often, something happens that makes someone more relatable. That snooty co-worker you never cared for? She suddenly seems likable when her kids crash her Zoom call.
We’re seeing everyone in their natural habitat. And we love it.
The last few months have been tough for everyone in our sector, with many people losing their jobs and a possible funding crisis. But, deep down, all of us got into this field because we love life sciences. And, ultimately, that makes us all the same. (Almost!)
Who knows what the future holds. But WFH has brought us closer than we ever imagined. In-between all the important life sciences stuff, many of us are communicating in new ways. We’re establishing new relationships. We’re making new connections. And it’s all thanks to the latest tech.
The social possibilities are endless. We can do online yoga. Online karaoke. Online book club. We can email and Tweet and TikTok. It beats the awkwardness of the office holiday party, that’s for sure.
With the pandemic not going away anytime soon, we’re going to have to adapt to WFH. And we’re OK with that. It could be months (or years) before we get another “hello” from our Life Sciences Director. Or listen to the small talk in the cafeteria at lunchtime. Or attend another pharma sales meeting. But, for now, we’re happy seeing our colleagues’ bad hair on Zoom. And their pets and kids and questionable wallpaper.
It’s made everyone a little more likable.
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