Remote vs. Personal – This is NOT the Question

Many people around the world, and certainly those who live in Europe are currently being forced by the coronavirus to work remotely. And obviously people are concerned, especially independent consultants like myself who have seen our revenue stream reduced to a trickle, if that. And we live from what we earn.

Simultaneously, and unsurprisingly, we see a massive leap in (1) remotework ‘experts’ attempting to sell something; (2) banal posts informing us of the joys and benefits of remote work; (3) those attempting to sell so-called “collaboration tools”.

Not all work is “digital”.

Some work can be done equally well remotely, some work requires face-to-face contact and the facilities of a workplace to carry out effectively and efficiently. There is no simplistic binary answer.

As social animals, we need human contact. This is currently missing for many people. Let’s recognise it: the current situation constitutes a huge change.

I have been working from my home office since 1994, so know well how to discipline myself, structure my day, what to do when my brain is drained, etc. Many don’t. talk to one another. “How do you …?” etc. We don’t need tools for this.

There is no such thing as a “collaboration tool”. Digital tools are connection tools. Some are very good, some are crap – like most things in this world.

A few days ago, I noticed a consultant claim that “in a few days” we had built trust in our zoom group. What an arrogant assumption. I’m very sorry, but none of us need this conceited rubbish – it is so harmful and deliberately misleading probably with the aim of gaining business by any means.
Trust is a highly complex phenomenon, that evolves in whichever direction continuously.

In the current situation, I am currently expanding my offer of Skype/Zoom coaching, while being open about its limitations.

Of course, you can have Skype or Zoom calls and #meetings. Please recognise however, that digital is a supplement to personal contact not a substitute. In any interaction, so much ‘information’ is transmitted non-verbally, also, energetically, that the context of a digital medium simply cannot emulate it. At present, such media are an acceptable alternative to meeting face-to-face. That’s all. Let’s be aware of this.