A Sumerian bazaar office environment. Wacky idea? Maybe not. Post pandemic, businesses are grappling to redesign the workplace. Remote. Hybrid. Some employees don’t want to return to the office, ever.
Meanwhile, a business must generate revenue, otherwise, it’s just an idea. I’ve been on the planet awhile, producing in and out of an office, as an advisor here’s what I know to be true.
Humans need to be with other humans. Enter the renaissance of the American workplace, Sumerian bazaar style.
1. Called tradeshows today, Sumerian bazaars and European market fairs have been around since the dawn of civilization, The reason? They fill an essential human need, to connect with other humans. Boom. This applies in business too. Because there’s no identical substitute for communicating face-to-face. People will say things in person, they’d never say via text or in an email. Conversely, some people would rather eat a bowl of bugs than speak on a Zoom call. The point. Humans are wired for connection. It’s in our DNA. Essential to our species survival is human contact. Remote. Hybrid. There’s no one answer for every company, but who can ignore a mental health boost, longer lifespan and better quality of life from human connection. “The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection.” Robin S. Sharma.
2. “Why do I need to be in the office, I can do my job from home?” Point taken. With a taste of it, employees won’t give up their freedom. Although indefinite cocooning has repercussions, isolation breeds depression. American businesses meet the workplace renaissance. A Sumerian bazaar, tradeshow or being in an office is a successful concept because you have a specific reason to spiff up, hop on your donkey, drive or fly somewhere to be physically present. There is something there, someone you want to see and something you want to do that you can’t do, wearing PJ’s in your dining room office, ever. Operative word, want, to be physically present, is powerful psychologically. Do your job successfully from home, Panera or Bermuda. Then go to the office for a specific reason. An idea session. A new product demo. A pep rally lunch. Yes. I said that. Teams can accomplish more in a quick stand-up meeting, than they can in a thread of eighty-seven emails. In person, you understand things in a deeply tangible way, by engaging all five senses, not two. Could the mini-office bazaar concept with a twenty-first century twist be the answer? “There is no problem that you cannot solve if your focus is on solutions.” Nitin Namdeo.
I rarely look backward to go forward except at things that never change, human nature and the essential need for people to see and do things in person with other people. Here’s to the renaissance of the American workplace. I’m heading to the Sumerian bazaar. My donkey has room for two.
Paula M. Parker (C) 2022 Originally published in the MetroWest Daily News a USA Today network