Is technology overtaking our personal contact?

So many technologies allow us to collaborate “virtually” today. Email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and desktop sharing are common parts of the workday for many people. But regardless of what technologies we use, all of our interactions still rely on a basic element: each other. No matter how many shiny tools we have, we can’t get things done without other people.

A study of human behavior and the barriers to effective collaboration showed that without question that collaboration is grounded in human interaction and relationships. One participant even said: “We need to get back to the intimacy.”

People are more engaged when they can see and hear each other well, basically interacting the way humans have interacted for thousands of years: face to face. When personal meetings are not possible, we embrace technology, such as high-definition videoconferencing, that most closely emulates human interactions.

Key ingredients for successful collaboration all rely on human behaviour;

  • Building relationships and networks that lead to trust
  • Turning human interactions into results
  • Balanced decision-making and consensus building
  • Evolve the culture for productive collaboration

As good as technology may be and the opportunity for face to face communication are we losing the intimacy of personal contact, of ‘being’ together physically?