How Social Distancing is Creating Virtual Intimacy

How Social Distancing is Creating Virtual Intimacy

My how things have changed and are changing, literally every five minutes. As many of us are now working from home, there’s been a shift.  Social distancing is creating virtual intimacy. 

I am a WFH employee. My work world is done for the most part virtually, and has been for many years now with the exception of when I am onsite surrounded by thousands of my closest peers. Being a WFH employee, I am always interested about the people that join my calls, and have always longed to start each meeting with a round-robin, having my participants say hello, tell me something that is going on in their lives. But we’re all busy, usually with too many meetings and too little time, so I strive to be cognizant and dive right in with little socialization. 

We all know, things have changed.

With many of my colleagues now camping out at home, the human experience and desire for connection is absolutely undeniable.  Our meetings begin differently, we start with a pause, say hello to one another, ask how we are doing, and ask about the things we see in each other’s cameras.  We hope we will get to meet someone’s children or pets. 

We understand now more than ever that we’re humans in this together. I got the conversations I so wanted, though certainly not the way I wanted. I hope when normal life resumes, no one will mind that I have incorporated the human experience as part of my meetings. In fact, our executive management recommends this approach as the new normal, but at Five9, it had already organically happened on its own.

I have witnessed this shift not only in my work meetings but also interacting with customer service representatives (CSRs) from online merchants.  I’m a bit rural where I live and have a fairly robust infrastructure of deliveries set up.  With the delays caused by the additional strain on our system as we rely more heavily on online transactions and home deliveries, the worldwide team of contact center heroes become the sponge for our requests and frustrations. 

I have found something special is happening.  I know these people are tired, thousands have had to quickly transition to working at home, while still providing us with answers to our questions and solutions to our problems.  Guess what?  These people need the connection too.

My conversations with reps have been a little different as of late.  Not only are CSRs providing the most heartfelt support they can to address the reason you’re reaching out, they want to talk a little too. I have had some lovely and sweet conversations about the simple commonalities we find while chatting or messaging.  This army of caring individuals are helping to keep things rolling. Take a minute or two next time you reach out, remember these folks are in the same boat, and are going above and beyond to take care of us.

I find a slice of happiness knowing what I do contributes to the quality of these individuals work-life experience.  That a CSR can navigate the waters of information and data behind the scenes with Five9 and provide a seamless experience for their customers (you and me).  And I love how hard we’re all working right now at Five9 to enable our customers to enable their CSRs and in turn their customers a warm light during uncertain times. Here’s to the Human Experience.

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