In the old world of work, we found friends, sports leagues, shopping buddies, and people to have after-work cocktails with at the office. The work of work was only part of the reason we showed up. We also went to be part of something.
In a remote or hybrid work environment, work and social connection are more bifurcated, which impacts both our work and our personal lives. Sadly, we’ll all have to meet our next romantic partner or golf buddy elsewhere. But this distance also impacts the quality of work we do and how connected we feel to work.
“You can hang out with people you enjoy,” says Helen Horstmann-Allen, COO at Fastmail, a privacy-focused email provider. “And you can do great things. But when you do both of those together, you really feel the meaning of life. All the things that happen in offices — the snack room, coffee, stationery, and swag — are about creating that sense of connection. Feeling connected to a group is what creates a deeper sense of meaning in our work.”