Written by Sheila Favuzza.
What did we do before email when talking to our co-workers about an upcoming or ongoing project? We would schedule a meeting, get up off of our butt, and walk down the hallway. Thanks to email, the face-to-face communication has gone by the wayside.
What do we lose when we make communicating via email? More than you would imagine.
One thing that we lose from the lack of face-to-face interaction is the release of oxytocin, also known as the “Cuddle Chemical.” When you have physical interaction with an individual such as a handshake, fist pump, or a simple pat on the back, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin makes us feel a sense of attachment and trust and gain a greater collaboration with co-workers/team members. The project becomes a part of you.
If you find yourself sick more than usual, it has also been shown that physical connectivity has health benefits. Individuals with active social lives tend to recover from sickness faster.
Digital communication is proven to be cheaper and more convenient but it doesn’t contribute to employees’ happiness and satisfaction. A challenge with digital communication is that you have to make sure you are conveying the right mood and tone. Are you able to get everything that is racing in your head down on that white screen in front of your face?
Companies that encourage more face-to-face time are reporting higher productivity and collaboration among employees. Google has encouraged their employees to socialize more and it’s brought on a new synergy in the workplace. It allows you the freedom to bounce ideas off of each other. You share and build on ideas which are a win-win situation for all involved.
So the next time you want to be creative, don’t open up a new email message. Instead, get up off your butt, walk down the hallway to your co-workers office, and engage in a face-to-face conversation. You may be amazed at what your co-worker has to offer.