The modern world has changed how life is being perceived a lot. 30 years ago when there was no cell phone people disconnected easy, driving home, being at home or even better being at lunch.
History has already proven that once something has been invented we will never be able to get back, the knowledge already exists. We live in a hyper-connected world and response times are every day a bit shorter. There is a general fear that Robots might take our jobs, and most likely they will for some of us but there will be new / different jobs.
Fear has never been a good companion or advisor for making decisions. It is good to have respect and certain fear but it is unlikely that the Sky will come down and we have a total apocalypse just because we did not respond to an email in less than 5 minutes. There is, and has to be time for everything during the day.
On my last years vacation I was Myanmar. I did not have phone coverage for 2 weeks. There was simply no way I could have been reached. Guess what… Nothing happened. Nonetheless I got asked.. “How did you do this?” Well it is actually quite simple. Where there is not signal / roaming agreement there is no phone. But I tend to respond with “If I had a bad accident and were to be in a coma, what would you do?” I admit it is a bit harsh but there is this analogy of us thinking we cannot miss a single second at work.
I titled this post Don’t eat in the Office, probably should have been more precise at your desk, yet it is still what I mean. Back in 2000 when I worked at Ariba I had some consultant from the UK come over to Madrid quite frequently. He was always amazed on how we not just said ” let’s go have lunch”, there was a social moment around it in which we decided what we would like to eat and then of course where. In Spain we still celebrate the moment of eating, and having a chat about things which can be trivial but very relaxing for the mind. I am a firm believer that a short disconnect, with good food and a friendly conversation increases the productivity.
In the last couple of years I am spending a considerable amount of time in the UK with my colleagues. There is a habit which I have never seen in Spain to go out (of course very quickly) and then grab something to eat and… now comes the worst eat it at their desk.
I am very gifted since my sense of smell is not very strong. However I find it unpleasant to be sitting at the desk and have somebody eat strong flavours next to me. There is no need to do that an the mixture of odours does not make it a lot better.
Eating is just so much more than just food ingestion (or injection in some cases)! This is a moment you are supposed to enjoy. It creates Oxytoxin… all good things do not waste a good moment of your life but pretending you are so important you cannot miss 5 minutes!
P.D. I am very sure that somebody might think now “Allright, he is having those 4 hour Lunches”. No that is not the point. I have lunch in Spain usually in 30 minutes!