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The New Intimacy of Work

by John Samuel


It has been exactly two years since Vanh Vue joined me as the first hire on the team, and since then, LCI Tech has grown to ten strong! Up until the Coronavirus hit North Carolina, our team was working from the office (with the exception of Kim Casey who works part-time from California). It is now going on three weeks with our team working from home, and I do not think I have ever felt as close with the team as I am today!


I am no stranger to working from home, having spent nearly three years working away from my team at my previous company. I was the only person in the US, while the rest of my team was based in London, so I would start my day at 4:30am, to align my days as best I could with them, given the five-hour time difference. My primary way of communication with others on the team was by Skype– I had only met two people in person during the entirety of my tenure with the company! I seriously struggled working remotely, and I felt very alone most of the time, and I felt that others did not understand how I was feeling.


Therefore, when the time came for LCI Tech to start social distancing, and begin working remotely, I was weary of how the team was going to cope. To my surprise, the team has embraced the new normal, and I feel that I am communicating with my team more than ever before! I can attribute this to two key changes: relaxing our morning stand up meeting to be more conversational, and scheduling a virtual lunch once a week.


Although we may be physically further away, in many ways we are closer in proximity to one another, since we now have a glimpse into our team members’ personal space. I have often spoken about how proximity builds empathy, in terms of disability inclusion, but I feel that this forced virtual environment is giving us an appreciation of the challenges that each of our team members is facing, and causing us to ask each other “how are you doing”?


It’s sad that it has taken a pandemic for us to start asking people these four little works, but I am hopeful that when we come through on the other end, that we won’t stop asking people “How are you doing?,” and build a new level of empathy with everyone.


We want to know how you are doing, so please leave us a comment or send us an email! What are you and your teams finding helpful during this new remote work environment? How are you staying in touch with your team while apart? Let us know! And please do your part to keep people safe, so wash your hands, and ask someone how they are doing!