It is perfectly normal to walk up to a colleague and talk about the movie you watched last evening. It isn’t acceptable to get on a call or an online meeting to do that.
At the office, you can talk about the weather with the person beside you while waiting for the all-hands-meeting to start. Online, it isn’t kosher to do that with 25 others on the call.
At a team outing, it is acceptable to talk about your life’s story after hanging out for three hours and chugging down a couple of beers. Remotely, it is nearly impossible to organize a casual hang-out that lasts three hours.
Those moments of casual socializing are to a company’s culture what vitamins and minerals are to our diet. You need them in small measure for a healthy work culture. When they are lacking for too long, the organization suffers from a deficiency disease.
With the massive shift to remote work, the creative challenge that lies ahead of us is to think of ways in which we can all chill out a little from behind a computer screen.