Opinion

Has COVID-19 Helped Us to Collaborate More or Less?

TS Eliot quote

“When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost – and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl.”

– TS Eliot

COVID-19 has forced us to work within the strict framework of lockdown and social distancing; the question is, has this led to richer ideas on how we collaborate?

Humans are social animals. We need physical, emotional and mental contact with others to thrive.

But.

We don’t have total freedom, we already live in a world of constraints. Societies, cultures, workplaces all have boundaries – a set of constraints – we have to work within; lockdown and social distancing are an additional constraint forced upon us.

Knowledge work is probably least affected by lockdown, as technology can be used to share and spread our ideas. Thinking is the realm in which Eliot’s quote is concerned.

Logistics can be applied to physical work where contact can be minimised for safety reasons while ensuring product/service output is optimised.

Emotional work? This is the most difficult. How do we respond to mental health issues, loneliness, isolation, fear, neglect, during a time of social distancing?

In my opinion, this is where we need to produce our richest ideas.

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