Having a full-time remote working situation is the dream for most people. Ditch the commute and take back your schedule. Work in your pajamas and travel the world — maybe not both at the same time. It all sounds great, and honestly it is. But I was surprised how much I missed one aspect from my old office job.
The in-person 1 on 1 meeting.
I worked in the same office for 5 years. Like clockwork I’d have a 1x1 with my manager every week, or every other week, for those 5 years. Eventually I became a manager and started having them with my direct report too.
After those 5 years it was time to move onto other opportunities. I took a job that was 100% remote.
After I started the new gig my new boss asked how often I wanted to have 1x1s. I told her every week, since that is what I was used to at my last job, and I thought getting face time every week would be helpful as a remote employee.
But my first couple 1x1s felt off. Almost like they were missing something. It took me a few weeks to figure it out.
I missed doing them in-person.
Having 1x1s over a video call just isn’t the same for me. It’s harder to read body language when you’re staring at each other through a computer screen.
When I became a manager at my old job I’d take my direct report out for coffee once a month. During those coffee trips we’d put work aside for 30 minutes and just catch up as regular people.
I listened each month as he went through the steps of proposing to his girlfriend. Shopping for a ring, planning the proposal, and eventually planning the wedding when she said yes.
He listened as I shared the same stories. We were both in the same phase of our life: proposing to the person we loved.
Sharing those small, personal moments are what make us human.
I’m fortunate to consider many of my former managers as friends. I’m almost guaranteed to see my last manager when a Grateful Dead cover band plays a show in town. Building a work connection that evolves into a friendship with your manager is not a guaranteed outcome for everyone, nor do some people want that.
For me it had become one of the most important parts of working in an office 40+ hours a week.
That personal connection of sharing a room and sitting across from each other was something I didn’t even know I needed, until I lost it.