Live events: right to connection
The need for physical, social contact and events on the work floor according to business philosopher Jochanan Eynikel
Now that we’re finally getting back our freedom after COVID-19 pandemic, one question arises: what about physical contact at the workplace? It is obvious that working a few days per week online is going to be the norm.
How important is it to work at the office? What about events? BluePoint asked business philosopher Jochanan Eynikel from Etion how we could mix “physical and digital”, the importance of in-person contact on the work floor is not purely digital.
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“Aside from the disconnect from your work, connection is also necessary for the mental well-being of employees. Of course, it is not all about digital connectivity, although it also helps to stay connected while working from home. What matters most is a relational-emotional sense of connection with team members and the whole of the organization.”
Jochanan Eynikel already wrote it in his opinion piece - but also during our (digitally admittedly!) interview Jochanan emphases his point: "Man is a social being. Our social relationships are very important for us to have a meaningful life. This is not about getting messages or emails, physical contact is also part of our well-being.
Due to COVID-19, this has been strained, especially in the workplace, for the last two years."
Less face-to-face contact in the workplace - it eats at our well-being
According to Jochanan, your workplace is one of the important places where you meet other people. "The less we see eachother, the more it eats at our well-being." The work connection was therefore under considerable pressure due to the corona crisis.
Jochanan thinks it is important that with the return to normality there is the possibility to connect at work. "Actually, a hybrid mix is ideal. Digital connection can be perfect for small meetings or information exchange – but it doesn't replace that need for social connectedness in a team. So, if you go for a combination of live, digital, and hybrid moments and contacts – then you're doing the right thing!"
The sense of belonging, or how you want to belong to a (work) community
When questions about the meaning of our jobs comes back, the collective meaning of our jobs should not be forgotten, Jochanan thinks.
"Do I feel appreciated? Am I welcome in a group? Will I be noticed in a group? In discussing these issues, body language, mutual trust and group dynamics are important. They can be made more difficult when we have to keep our distance from each other all the time - as was the norm for a short time."
Research shows that spontaneous conversations give that sense of belonging a boost. According to Jochanan, it is therefore important that we strive to preserve it. "It's not tosay that online meetings are a bad thing. But there is no more room for spontaneity. And that is important for well-being in the workplace."
And what about (networking) events?
Being spontaneous, is very important for the experience when events take place. Jochanan compares it to Tomorrowland: "Why do we pay for something that you can also find on YouTube? Because you have scents, colors, customers ...you can experience. That experience is such a crucial thing for people. It is therefore important for the well-being of people in the workplace that we do not forget those experiences."
His advice to companies that want to organize events. "Make sure there is a reason why people would physically move to your event, such as a rich experience and social interaction. Or go for a hybrid event with a mix of physical and digital presence. "There are a lot of advantages to the digital. For example, can't attend the event? Or do you just want to follow a few speakers? Then be sure to bet on a digital facet of your meeting. But surely also provide for the physical experience of the people. After corona, we all crave that!"
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