The silence of the new workplace

New office

Man is a social animal. We realise it today more than anytime in our lives in the past. We are humans and we need to be socially connected to survive and grow. Loneliness can be killing and it can be the worst punishment for any person at home or at work.

If we recall all the days we are staying alone at home, we realise how difficult it is when we get back home from work. We cannot speak to the TV, laptop or the fridge. We yearn for people to be around us. It is then we realise the value of our family members, who are there for us all the time and surround us with warmth and good emotions, unconditionally without expecting anything in return.

Now, as we enter the new workplace after the lockdown, we realise that there are less people around at work. Further, they seem to be avoiding each other and hardly speak to one another. The scare of the virus is taking away our natural urge to interact with each other. What should we do in such a scary environ ?

We could have meetings around a table maintaining the physical distance, covering our faces with masks, sanitising our hands and still talking to each other. While we need to take all necessary precautions to prevent the virus from infecting us and we infecting others, we need not stop talking to people around us. If not anything else, we can smile at one another.

Here I would like to share a real life story to emphasise that if our intent is good and we want to help others no virus can attack us ever. One of my close friends is an orthopaedic surgeon. He was detected with cancer some years back and the oncologists had predicted that even after the best treatment he may not survive for long. This doctor apart from serving his patients volunteers his time training students, professionals and others on “how to live life ethically ?”. He has survived his cancer for many years now and has defied all predictions by his treating oncologists.

I am not for one saying that we can neglect the virus or the cancer, which may endanger our lives. I am only professing that if we continue to take precautions, we can still continue to relate to people and interact with them. If we cannot walk across to everyone at work, nothing prevents us from picking up the phone and enquiring someone’s well being. If our intent is good and we are there to help our customers, suppliers or employees or society at large, no virus can touch us. Our body will produce nature immunes to deal with any virus including Covid.

Having said that, a virus or cancer can attack any of us irrespective of all our precautions and good intentions. In that case, we have to go for treatment and deal with it like any other disease.

I would say the new workplace provides us a great opportunity to build on our strengths and get over our weaknesses. Our strength is relationships and we need to continue to thrive on it to get things done. Our limitation is our productivity as we tend to waste a lot of time in gossip or unnecessary interactions. This is a welcome change to get over those weaknesses and improve our productivity to compete with the best in the world.

A new office meeting room may look like the photo above. That may be the new normal and we need to adapt to it

I personally feel that if we build on our relationships and create the most productive workplace in the world, no country in the world will be able to compete with us.

Opportunity is knocking at our doors today. Let us grab it with both our hands.

S Ramesh Shankar

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