I came across this little cartoon this past weekend and it struck me as being exceedingly true - at least for me. And, it's not because my email inbox is full of impersonal work-related communication or the occasional spam that makes it through Google's (pretty darn good) filter or even because I get SO MUCH email. It's more than that. It's because I long for something more personal. I love seeing the sender's handwriting, the paper chosen, the ink color, and knowing he/she took time to communicate just to me because... well, I like to think it's because the sender wanted to connect in a way that email just can't.
Being the co-founder of a coworking space, this, of course, got me thinking about human connection and how we all need it (even those of us who like to deny it) and how much we benefit from it. As caught up as I can get in the "I just can't take the time to step away from my desk at home to go elsewhere" mindset, when I do take the time I never regret it. It's good to see familiar faces and to connect. I always learn something new - every time.
"The most important element of a coworking space is the community inside it. This was confirmed in the Deskmag study, which found that coworkers believed community was most valuable asset in their workspace. Being surrounded by other independent workers with different skill-sets, networks and creative projects incubates creativity, innovation and meaningful business and social relationships. Respondents to the Global Coworking Survey confirmed that they had made an average of 3.6 new meaningful acquaintances in the space of two months – a clear indication of the value of joining a coworking space." (deskwanted.com)
"Coworking is redefining the way we do work. Inspired by the participatory culture of the open source movement and the empowering nature of IT, we are building a more sustainable future. We are a group of connected individuals and small businesses creating an economy of innovation and creativity in our communities and worldwide. We envision a new economic engine composed of collaboration and community, in contrast to the silos and secrecy of the 19th/20th century economy." (wiki.coworking.com)
Turns out, connection isn't just good for business. It's good for you. "In our crazy society, social ties are pretty far down on our “to do” lists, but connection to others is turning out to be more important than we thought. Studies indicate that “social capital” is one of the biggest predictors for health, happiness, and longevity." (bewell.stanford.edu)
So, the next time you find yourself at home, at your desk in your pj's or yesterday's clothes you put back on for convenience, feeling like you just can't break away; take a breath. Look out your window and remember those other people out there. Then get out... and connect. And, I'll do the same.