We live in a whirlwind of information. We’re all consuming media minute to minute in ways we could never imagine just five years ago. New social media platforms like TikTok have us laughing and dancing, and we watch breaking news live as events unfold as if we were there. Yes, we live much of our lives online, and with the pandemic plunging us into a work-from-home future, our workplace too has suddenly gone digital.
The pandemic accelerated certain behaviors by 5 to 10 years, ushering in the “future of work” we’ve all been hearing about for so long. We’ve all engaged, to some degree, in a mass remote work experiment. Digital platforms have performed exceedingly well during this time: Zoom has become the de facto video meeting software and filled the void of face-to-face meetings and office chats. Slack and Teams have allowed for easy and quick communication among employees, facilitating instant messaging and simple, efficient file sharing. Email has remained a constant of work life.
While these platforms create a hum of the workplace, they fail to bring to life the culture created in an office. They just aren’t designed for it. The half-hour scheduling of Zoom can leave little room for discussions of what people got up to during the weekend. The need to update colleagues about our work can supersede the desire to update them about our lives. It can be easy for a sense of belonging and inclusion to wane from this lack of personal engagement. Workplace culture is not just a buzzword–it’s greeting the new employee, shouting over to congratulate a colleague on a job well done. And it’s something we’re all nostalgic for.