As our world enters a fourth month of active social distancing and safer at home living, the positives and negatives of engaging remotely are now reality. In general, people have adjusted quite well to continuing their routines within a remote and online environment. Zoom has become ubiquitous, family video chats have emerged, phone calls with friends have become longer, and churches all produce an online worship experience.
While able to maintain our past status quo, what about our personal and community growth in a socially distant world? A recent study from Stanford warns of innovation and new ideas already beginning to stagnate within organizations when no physical interaction occurs. Without the verbal and non-verbal interaction across large and diverse groups of people, new ideas that drive growth are not emerging. While the lack of innovation will not be felt today, the future is starting to dim somewhat.
Engagement with others drives growth, both for organizations and for individuals. Studies conducted pre-pandemic showed that the most productive people who work at home did not do so exclusively. They have a regular routine where they engage with others in-person, whether going into the office once a week, having lunch with co-workers, or attending large conferences and gatherings. This balance allows for personal well-being and personal growth to occur.
Similar conclusions were drawn in a study conducted by education technology vendor Top Hat. It states that 75% of college students forced into online learning in March report being disengaged from their coursework. For an experience where growth is paramount, why such a high level of disengagement? We can point to the lack of interpersonal relationships with their other students and their professors. It is not the quality of material, but the interaction that drives growth.
Engagement occurs via active conversation and interpersonal relationships. Replicating this engagement either via limited in-person contact or vastly improved technology tools will be key to continuing our human growth during these socially distant times. The church is well-positioned to deliver this engagement, taking advantage of a strong message and new tools to deliver.
Pitfalls to Innovation While Working From Home
Why Online College Classes are Disappointing