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                                             Feeling Disconnected
 
Greetings dear friends & welcome to my world again this week. Steve Jobs once said: “There is a temptation in our networked age to think ideas can be developed by email & iChat. This is crazy. “Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into a person, you ask what they are doing, you say ‘wow,’ & soon you are cooking up all sorts of ideas.” 1
 
His words have validity, but they also point to a dead end in our current work happenings. 
 
Research from 2005 ~ 2012 indicates telecommuting rose 79 percent, triggering much discussion surrounding the topic of office productivity & creativity in relation to remote-working conditions.  The listed benefits included: 

  • decreased traffic
  • greater opportunity for out-of-the-box thinking
  • more flexibility in scheduling
  • an enhanced work-life balance
  • greater ownership of personal time management
  • increased trust & accountability
  • & fewer office interruptions.   2
The disadvantages cited were just as vast. 3
While greater flexibility in schedule might allow employees the time to exercise & tend to their health, some employees were found to be increasingly sedentary. Communication seemed to suffer from a lack of face-to-face exposure. And digital friendships were found to be harder to craft than when granted in-person opportunities for connection.
 
Have you struggled with working from home? What are your greatest challenges friends?
 
The research has shown if you want to increase your engagement & performance at work, there is one thing to trump almost everything else: make a close friend at the office.  4   People with a best friend in the workplace are seven times as likely to report being engaged in their work. Likewise, people with at least three vital friends at work are 96% more likely to be satisfied with their lives.”
 
Hodari continues: “A creative work life requires social relationships & serendipitous interactions. It requires contending with ideas you do not agree with. It requires getting up & moving around. As a result, it is becoming increasingly clear for many people, working at an office is not a relic of a pre-digital age, but a vital element in reaching their creative potential.” 
 
So it appears much of the content surrounding remote working, points to connection ~ creativity & productivity sparked through engagement in friendships, movement, the flow of in-person presence, & interaction. 
 
And while there is certainly space for the remote-working cheerleaders, the problem of connectivity seems to trump many of the benefits argued in defence of a digitized age. 
 
The colleague pop-in interrupting your creative groove does not seem to be as big of a hindrance as some might think. The friendship you might craft with a particular intruder, & the ideas you might share with them, seem to outweigh the interruption to your project at hand.
 
Given the realities of our current epidemic, what does all of this mean for the workplace?
 
It means getting creative. It means finding the sweet spot of connectivity, both digitally, but more importantly through maintenance of relationships. And whilst many companies are figuring out what works through avenues like Zoom & Google. There are other ways to connect, even when we cannot physically be together. But are they a replacement for true, physical connection? 
 
The question remains to be determined. And researchers are working on an answer. 5
 
 
So what does all of this mean for businesses? Innovation appears to be the key. And we are the creative body keeping a vision prominent, centre-focused, & shining brightly in a world needing this now more than ever. We should therefore seize our creative potential.
 
The overarching theme of the current research, writings, & verbal advice regarding remote working is: connection. While the world spins on, this disease continues to spread, companies persist, pushing forward; our desire for relationship cannot be ignored. 
 
Whether we find connection in the workplace, amongst colleagues, or elsewhere, we are brothers & sisters seeking friendship, laughter, love, & a meaningful conversation (potentially with someone other than the people who reside within our four walls). 
 
Creativity is inspired by connection & enhanced by meaningful contemplation, discovered in the confines of our daily lives. And it is through such intimate relationships we are empowered to discover our greatest creative potential. 
 
If the research is true suggesting friendship in the workplace inspires increased engagement, productivity, & possibly creativity, we have to be willing to connect.
 
So let us all get creative. We too can infuse these digital times with our unique touch. We can brainstorm, ponder, & aspire to create the greatest connection during the darkest of times. 
 
I am going to join the journey for the latter. Will you join me?
 
I hope my comments each week are helpful dear readers; & again, provide just an opinion, from my world. Thank you for taking the time to be with me, I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
www.kennbutler.com
 
 
 
 
1 https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson/dp/1451648537/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Steve+jobs&qid=1597435185&sr=8-
2 Workspaces That Move People by Ben Waber, Jennifer Magnolfi & Greg Lindsay
3 Claire Avidon is a wife, mother, & friend who seeks to enjoy the richness of life to the absolute fullest. As a mother of three under three, Claire strives to be still in the moment & absorb the sweet moments of parenting littles. She & her husband (Michael) & children, reside at Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas.
4 Is Working Remotely Sapping Your Creativity by Jamie Hodari
5 One such example from: https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/13833/creativity-and-innovation-in-times-of-crisis-covid-19

 
 
 
 

Kenn Butler
Director
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