Beyond the Cubicle, Part 2

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I, Human

It wasn’t too long ago that many were touting Meta’s “metaverse” as the solution for virtual offices. It was proposed as offering a Sims-like workplace of the future, an obvious answer to the distant-yet-connected needs of the pandemic. Even technology giants like Microsoft have been working on projects for virtual reality offices, pursuing Horizon Workroom versions of its Office programs.

However, since these excited reports, we’ve seen the near collapse of Meta’s virtual aspirations. While most people desire the flexible workplaces of today over the traditional bricks-and-mortar of yesterday, we aren’t quite willing to abandon physical reality. Strategies for collaborating with remote and hybrid teams have been developed and polished to some extent. We know what works and what isn’t quite there yet for our individual situations.

As many organizations and cities at large attempt to reshape themselves around the modern workplace, depicted in this video by The Economist, one consistent concern remains the growing distance between us. Though Internet communications may offer greater opportunities for connection, many of us aren’t eager to go all-in.

Further research asserts that what drives people isn’t just the flexibility of offices, but the relationships of teams. Workplace preferences transcend typical presumptions of extrovert and introvert, explored here by Raconteur. While it might be easy to conclude that extroverts prefer in-office environments and introverts thrive remotely, deeper analysis of personality, such as the Processing component of SurePeople’s Prism® Portrait, unveils a more nuanced story.

Workplace flexibility is crucial for wellbeing, but we needn’t sacrifice human connection for it, as conveyed in this video by leadership consultant Simon Sinek. In this height of technology, perhaps what we need isn’t more Wi-Fi access, but human access. We may think our success lies within Teams or Zoom and the navigation thereof. But the reality is that our success lies in our connection to each other.

“We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone…and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.”
– Sandra Day O’Connor

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