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Our “NEED” for In-Person Contact


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Our “NEED” for In-Person Contact

As I am writing this, I have just returned from the ERAPPA 2022 Conference at the Turning Stone Resort in New York. This was the first annual ERAPPA conference since 2019. I had the pleasure of seeing many clients that I had not seen in-person since before COVID-19. Several of them have been on dozens of Teams calls during that time, so I have been in communication with them. However, it took getting in the same room to remind me of how important the connection is when you are physically together.

I don’t think that work and life are ever going to go back to the pre-pandemic normal. That being said, I do think that the pendulum has swung too far and we need to come back to more in-person activities as soon as we can. I am in no way advocating for the return to five-days-a-week in the office. In fact, in our firm we have had staff in areas outside of the Greater Toronto Area (where our Canadian Corporate Office is located) and St. Petersburg (where our US office is located) working 100% remotely since the company started.

For many people who have been isolated as a result of the pandemic, it may feel disconcerting to get together in person with people, let alone in large groups. I remember the first large indoor event (Sourcewell’s H2O in June 2021) that I attended part way through the pandemic, I was totally freaked out being inside with so many “strangers”. I suggest we push through any discomfort we might have and get out and see some people again face-to-face.

Online meetings can be very effective in certain circumstances. However, I am still a big believer in meeting in-person early in a project (e.g Kick-off meeting). The business world still is based on relationships and I for one feel that it is much harder to build strong relationships only online. Shaking someone’s hand, sharing small talk, reading body language, all of these things help to build longer lasting, healthier, more collaborative relationships.

Human beings are inherently social creatures. It goes against our very nature to be isolated. Now that the worst of the pandemic (fingers crossed) is behind us, let’s get back together in-person and (re)build some of that connection that binds us all together.

Here’s hoping that I will see you soon!


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