Three weeks ago on a Saturday morning I realised I had not seen Speranza for a few weeks selling the Big Issue in town. Not done that most old-fashioned of things, had made eye contact with her and had a talk about life.
I asked around my friends. WHO? they replied – and I realised that very few people knew her. I worried if she was okay and whether I should contact the regional office to check.
She had told me she was in need of an operation, and then I had gone on holiday and another month had just passed by.
It then made me wonder about my own working environment and ask myself the following:
- How easy it is to pass colleagues and never look in their eyes or ask how they are feeling.
- Has modern working life made us too busy to afford the ultimate courtesy to acknowledge and engage with others also trying to make a living?
- Is human interaction becoming a disappearing skill?
A nod, a smile – not too hard surely? Does a happy workplace have to have on-tap mochaccinos, funky beanbags and state-of-the-art IT systems?
Do we assume Speranza is unhappy? When I go to buy my weekly magazine, she exudes happiness and we chat about her family and the things she is grateful for that the Big Issue has allowed her access to.
In fact recent on-line responses during Mental Health Awareness Week have been overwhelming in exposing how much the modern workplace is becoming increasing isolated.
It may be easier to send a text to a colleague who is working a few desks away – but is it effective? Can we hide behind an emoji to explain what we are really feeling?
Perhaps try a real life thumbs up, smile and make eye contact next time,. See first hand the impact it has. It isn’t hard to do, I promise you. And when you see the reaction it makes, it will be fabulously rewarding.
The good news is that Speranza is back on her pitch. Her surgery in Romania was a success, and she remains eternally grateful for what she calls her blessings. It made me happy to see her too.
Find out more on the importance of having positive and engaged employees interacting together in a happy workplace. Significantly, the benefit it has to the productivity and profitability of your business.