Everyone at Cranky Concierge works remotely, and that certainly works out well for us. But last week, I had one of my employees come out to meet and work with me in person. No matter how good technology gets, you really can’t replace the experience of meeting face to face.
Chat and video calling technology tends to work well for transaction-based needs. If we’re working on solving an issue for a client, or if we need to tackle something that’s narrowly defined, then these remote technologies are every bit as good as anything you can do by sitting in the same room. But it’s the intangibles that suffer in a remote environment.
There’s something about being in the same room that gets people working in a different way. It immediately becomes a more collaborative environment. For part of the time my employee was here last week, we were just working on regular day-to-day tasks. But having him there in the room meant that I would reach out and bounce things off him more frequently. It made for a pleasant and productive work environment.
We also went to meet a vendor with whom we’ve primarily worked over email. Sitting there at lunch, we were able to work out a couple of issues that had been causing trouble for one of our clients for some time. It’s amazing how much easier it is to solve a problem when you put people together in the same room. It makes it harder to hide.
This experience made me realize that we need more face-to-face meetings here. That doesn’t mean I think everyone should work in a single office together. That wouldn’t make anyone happy. But it does mean that we should gather more often than we have been. The increase in productivity and the ability to bond is well worth the expense.