On the New York Times today I read an article about the different willingness to go back to the office after the long period of home working due to the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent sessions of lockdown measures. From the survey carried out in the USA it emerged that only 36% of Baby Boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1964) questioned the need of returning to the usual working routine at offices compared to 45% of Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and 55% of Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996).
When I was going to University, I remember spending 10-12 hours a day in that building: 8 hours were usually spent attending lessons and the rest spent in the library studying, meeting peers, getting information on several subjects including leisure activities!
These were the years were we formed our personality, got in touch with other characters, learnt to select peers that could become friends from those that remained just “colleagues”, etc.. Once graduated, the same applied to working for companies when the learning process expanded into new fields such as work procedures, departments tasks, colleagues that could represent competitors in the promotion race and bosses that could be either mentors supporting our career growth or obstacles. We also had to learn some elements of diplomacy to deal with not only the company personnel but also the outside world such as clients and suppliers.
All these experiences made us the persons that we are now, aware of what the human society is like, the good and bad of it, the theory of how it should be and the reality of how it is. All this was learnt by the continuous exercise of going to school first and to work later, every single day.
Technology (i.e. ICT) and the Internet helped us carry out office work more or less seamlessly although the quality of life, in my opinion, dramatically decreased. If, on the one hand, we saved a good amount of time by not commuting to work places, on the other hand we lived our lives 8 hours a day, every day, in front of a computer screen. Everything was carried out through the computer including meetings, conferences, workshops, appraisal sessions, etc. Some people were not in ideal situations to properly concentrate (e.g. families with crying babies or children that got easily fed up with attending school online, small or noisy apartments and we could include many more disturbances). We lost touch with the best of life: socialising.
Last week I attended an AGM when it was proposed to organise a congress that may be held online. All members dismissed that possibility: not only we are all bored with living in front of a screen, but we also want to meet people in person, drink a cup of coffee together while talking about several subject and not only about business.
By the way, being born in 1965 I belong to the Generation X and I fully support the output of that survey.
EPN Consulting Founder & CEO