Risk & Business Magazine JGS Insurance - Summer 2020 - Page 13

TECHNOLOGY "THE WORKPLACE USED TO BE WHERE WE GATHERED, FORMED FRIENDSHIPS, AND FELT CONNECTED TO A LARGER COMMUNITY." smartphones between two and five years of age. Psychologists will tell you that face-to-face interactions are the primary way kids learn and bond, so what we do with technology matters more than ever. Kids who grow up communicating through screens are less intimate with human emotions; now there are even classes to teach them how to read emotions. Social media is how preteens and teens relate to one another, again behind a technical interface. Their next stop is the world of work, where we leaders are deploying technology to save money and time, which means communications between co-workers are again through interfaces and behind screens. Remote workers might never see another co-worker. The workplace used to be where we gathered, formed friendships, and felt connected to a larger community. That social bonding has been important to our emotional well-being since the first homo sapien walked the earth. Communities of belonging helped us stay safe and feel connected. BUILDING TRUST WITH COWORKERS At HGTV, the company I most recently helped to build, we tried to consider the emotional health of our organization. We began with a central location but had regional offices, and individual, remote workers too where it made sense. However, remote workers had a regional office or our central location to come to as well; they weren’t isolated. They had a choice. When human beings feel separate, they can begin to feel endangered. We’re no different from wooly mammoths that way. A gathering place matters. How do we experience the precious lessons we learn through looking at someone eye to eye, interacting face to face, heart to heart? When do our screens become walls? Building trust with your co-workers is incredibly important, so you can work with speed and focus. I interviewed Dr. Andrew Moore, who runs the Computer Science Department for Carnegie Mellon University, for my new book, Fully Human. Before CMU, he worked at Google for 12 years remotely, out of their Pittsburgh office. Much of his communication with his colleagues was through video conferencing and email. He said if he wasn’t in Mountain View at least once every couple of months, the emails became ‘us’ vs. ‘them’. Trust broke down. This is a guy who will tell you every company of distinction in the future will be run by technologists. He adores technology. Trust must be built face-to-face. It can be sustained through screens but that comes later. The emotional health of our companies will always precede their economic health. That’s probably a good thing to remember. + Susan Packard has been on the ground floor and helped to build powerhouse media brands like HBO, CNBC, and HGTV. She was the co-founder of Scripps Networks Interactive and former chief operating officer of HGTV. Under Packard’s helm, HGTV became one of the fastest growing cable networks in television history. Today HGTV is available in more than 98 million U.S. homes and distributed in over 200 countries and territories. Packard helped to build Scripps Networks Interactive to a market value of over $14 billion. Susan’s first book, New Rules of the Game, was written to help women navigate and lead in the workplace. Her second book, called Fully Human, Three Steps to Grow your Emotional Fitness for Work, Leadership & Life, offers a fresh, new framework for growing one’s emotional intelligence. SusanPackard.com 13