Last week I wrote an article entitled: “The Problem with Virtual Trade Shows: They’re boring.” Writing such articles is, as you can imagine, a learning journey. So, one of the things that came to mind after I wrote it was just how much humans need personal contact. That virtual trade shows, with the best of efforts, are ultimately distancing devices that do not provide the warm, emotional connection for which we all hunger.
That thought was amplified by a Wall Street Journal article by Chip Cutter entitled “Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All.” Mr. Cutter reminds us that two or three months ago, remote working was working! And working well.
That was then, and this is now. Here is how Mr. Cutter puts it:
Now, as the work-from-home experiment stretches on, some cracks are starting to emerge. Projects take longer. Training is tougher. Hiring and integrating new employees, more complicated. Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren’t developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs.
The challenge we are now facing is that maybe the technology is simply not there yet. I don’t know about you, but Zoom, with its array of heads, is simply no substitute for sitting in the room with other people.
Trade show providers are making heroic efforts to keep whole industries connected and functioning. Managers are doing the same with their employees. The tools and the art, however, are simply not available…yet.
Creating a virtual experience that replicates life calls for new artistic and creative skill sets. Those skills will not fully emerge until the enabling technology is in place.
The Coronavirus pandemic will end, and when it does, much will go back to normal. Until then, we will have to fumble along, making the best of the technology that we have. What will come out of this, however, will be new ways of connecting virtually, and that, along with the human touch, will take us into a whole new way of conducting business.
We just have to be patient.