Can we talk?

I don’t want to bore you or rant for the sake of it, but… can somebody please explain to me why, in an open plan office with no partitions to speak off, there is any need for someone to conduct an entire conversation via email with their neighbour across the way?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They aren’t discussing a confidential matter requiring discretion or idly gossiping about someone in the department. No this is mundane stuff, like when their next campaign is kicking off or when copy is expected back from the studio.

In other words, its typical ‘everyday’ office work flow which can be dealt with in seconds if only the ‘dumb’ person on the other side of the desk remembers how to talk, asks questions and gets answers; thereby creating knowledge we might all benefit from knowing.

But instead, in our ‘fast moving’ high tech offices, real work becomes lost in a maze of unanswered emails and numbed emotions as we tap away, trying to guess what the sender wants by the tone of their inquiry and wondering just what the heck that ‘emoticon at the end really means (recognition charts at the ready everyone).

So does technology in fact actually end up slowing us down? I think it might you know.  I mean how many times recently have you have found yourself labouring over an email, when a quick phone call would surely have sufficed? Or cursed the fact that no-one has got back to you, possibly because they are no longer with the company, or just gone on holiday and forgot to put their ‘out of office’ on.

My guess is too many times. So remember that the next time you fail to talk to your neighbour you are probably driving another nail into the coffin of decent conversation.

I look around my office this afternoon and seeing heads down everywhere I do begin to wonder –  What are they really doing? Working?  Emailing, on facebook perhaps, instant messenging?

Or maybe they are just plain scared to look up and catch my eye, in case I want to talk to them…

Face to face.

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