BLUF

This article discusses what we lose when we interact solely in a virtual workplace while acknowledging that ‘hybrid’ workplaces are here to stay.

Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed our office environment. As a result, we now have more people working from home, either full-time or a mixture of both. Leadership specialist Carol Kinsey Goman discusses the benefits of a hybrid workforce but insists we lose certain things when we only interact virtually, e.g. we lose:
  • Social body language cues.
  • Touch.
  • Eye contact.
  • Informal conversations.
Goman asserts that in a virtual workplace, we lose the power to build more profound and more trusting relationships that in-person human to human connections provide. For example, she notes the following comment made to her while attending an in-person conference:
         'Carol, all of the important conversations are taking place around the wine and cheese table.' 
Goman believes that while a hybrid workplace can work well, a totally virtual workplace might lead to less knowledge, fewer personal connections, and a lack of genuine trust, resulting (possibly) in less workplace innovation.