I know, I hear you….what question?! There are so many we have right now that feel unanswered. Bear with me…
Whilst most of us find ourselves living our lives online: quizzes, family get-togethers, dates, conferences, schooling, team meetings, 1:1’s, live performances and job interviews, we are grappling with this supposed ‘new normal’ and, it seems, people are getting more comfortable with it. Having spoken to a few clients this week, I hear that they are already ‘in their new groove’, leading teams where everyone appears as a 3cm x 3cm version of themselves. Oh, and very flat. And a bit blurry if the wifi signal is poor. And with their camera off if they are still in their pyjamas. That aside, people seem to think it’s working.
Excellent. There is no doubt that Zoom (other video conference tools are available) is enabling us to make the transactional business happen. It serves us brilliantly in updating people, giving them information, checking in, sharing news and undertaking activities reliant on groupthink. Cambridge University, one of the greatest educational establishments in the world, have already decided that their 2020/21 curriculum will ALL be delivered online. NO face to face time. So, that’s it right. It seems to work ok. Job done. Let’s crack on.
Woah…..hold on there a moment. Really?! We’ve decided that there is no other way, it’s good enough to do it online and we can tick the relevant boxes? Frankly, we can’t be arsed to find an alternative way, this is much easier, so squeeze yourself into that 3cm square box and get on with it. See you in September 2021….
The expression, Fools Gold springs to mind…..
So, onto my question: What about the missing pieces of the puzzle?? Yeah, I’m talking human interaction, human connection, being relational, shared energy, auric fields, engagement, emotion, felt experiences, that co-creation and interdependence that we only have when we are together. In. The. Same. Space! For those of you who are inlined to leap down my throat and ask me if I have seen the news lately and start to regale me with stories of social distancing rules, yeah, I watched the news. I understand. So, because of that, we are ok to just put up with it and not make the effort to understand the tremendous cost to people, teams, cultures and humanity by burying these qualities and to place no effort in creating ways that we can do this differently going forward??!
Having spent years as an actor and musician, I know the power of connection and the energy fields that are created in live theatre. Film and recorded live events are just not the same. Live theatre offers us vulnerability, connection and intimacy. We share something unique in that moment. Stories are told. Stories are felt. Lives are transformed. Humanity makes a shift. Online working is not live theatre.
Our new Currency going forward needs to be one of Compassion. The world is desperate for this. Look at the state our planet is in and the role that each of us own in fucking it up, just a little. Look at the mental health crisis we are entrenched in and how the lack of truly ‘seeing’ others and building connection with them has been eroded over time. Doing all our business on Zoom will simply fuck it up, that a little bit more.
The answer isn’t simple. Far from it, the solution is challenging. I, for one, will not stop asking this question until we find better ways. There must, of course, be a balance as we strive to architect our new world. One in which people can work remotely, have better balance and experience what it means to be a human, on this planet, living healthy lives alongside each other.
Let us not settle for second best. We cannot give up and accept Fools Gold as the solution.