Like many of us, I have been stuck at home for thirteen days now. In reality this is no great hardship as I am still well fed, have company and have things to keep me going. There are people far worse off than me and so I am not complaining.
I do miss the human contact though. Keeping in touch with people online is great and I have made an attempt to say hello to my friends when I have the chance but it is not the same as being with someone. I have said for many years that there is no substitute for face to face.
There is something special about sitting opposite someone, chatting over a cup of coffee, having lunch together or simply interacting over ideas and issues. Technology cannot and will not, in my opinion, ever be able to replace this.
Yet this is an enormous part of what I do for work (or is it was and did?). Some of my time was spent writing things up but in the main it was meeting people, shaking hands, sharing space and generally working in a social setting.
Work is a team sport and it is very difficult to maintain a team without some physical interaction.
Humans are social animals and need society. This is why solitary confinement is such a powerful weapon and why isolation is so damaging to the elderly. Online meetings aren’t the same as face to face meetings just as football is not the same as on the television as at a match or that theatre can be captured at the cinema.
I would like to make an appeal therefore. When this pandemic is over, we go back to a society that meets each other, that is not afraid to share space and to make contact as appropriate. No doubt it will take time to get there but if I need it then so will many others, if not all of us.