Our world is so full of automation and technology these days that we’re constantly interacting with people through the filter of whatever technological platform you may be using. Are you limited to 280 characters in your tweet? Are you foregoing tone and body language in your emails and texts? Or perhaps you’re only communicating in pictures on Instagram or Snapchat.
The truth of our world today is that the above list of insulated communication tools represents only a fraction of the technological tools we use these days to interact with people. The Technology of Things, where our tech now interacts with another layer of tech to make our lives easier layers even more distance between ourselves and other human beings.
As I witness workplaces around the country, what I experience frequently is people craving the authenticity that can only come from true human connection. I believe that people in the world today move through their day feeling a deep absence of something that they can’t quite articulate. I know, after having helped many to fill that void, that they are missing the true authenticity of other people being real and making a connection.
There’s something incredibly special about feeling seen, heard, and known by another person. And though we often get that deep connection with our close friends and significant others, the small, daily, mini or micro connections are waning with our deeply layered and automated world. We experience fewer and fewer smiles and opportunities for knowing one another on a human, emotional level.
Like water carving a canyon, the loss of human connection slowly and quietly occurs over a long period of time so that we do not even know it is happening. But in truth, we connect with acquaintances and strangers much more seldom than we used to as a culture. That loss of connection affects us on a basic level creating a sense of longing that can lead to feeling like something essential is missing. It is!
As humans, we are social creatures. We are meant to experience feelings along the entire tapestry of human emotion and we are meant to share with other people. When we share our feelings and subsequently, our reactions to those feelings, we connect deeply with others building relationships that weave into the fabric of our culture. This basic connection is universal and its absence is disturbing in the “modern” workplace.
So, the next time you consider automating an entire sequence in your workplace, ask yourself where you can insert more connection – the old fashioned way. Consider doing a pop-by just to see someone and let them know that you were thinking of them. Hand write a note and leave it on their desk. And yes, this does work within the workplace. Let people know that they’re still important even though your day is full. Create time for connecting in ways that excite you.
These connections don’t need to be time consuming or lengthy, they just need to provide impact. Take a moment to pause your multitasking when you are actually in the presence of another smile. Force yourself out of auto-pilot and see if sharing a moment with a stranger doesn’t brighten your day. Cumulatively, over time, you’ll find yourself loving the connection and experiencing joy more.