COVID has accelerated a lot of conversations about how and where we do our work. Since it has been required for many, one of those conversations is working from home vs the office. It absolutely might be more efficient. Whether it is or not may very much depend on the business in question and the particular person in question. It saves office space and commuting time. It can seem very pragmatic. But it is important to remember, in the words of GK Chesterton, “The one thing the pragmatist misses is that pragmatism is not practical.” Why? Because we are made for more than just mechanistic output. We are not robots. We are not less. We are much more.
We have all felt in the past year is the hunger for normal, healthy, human interaction. We miss daily smiles and touch, the refreshment of a group of friends or even some of our family we have not been able to see. There is an ache in the heart for these things. Though such longing is painful, it can also be good if it is a tool to point us to our need.
Let me present a thought in the form of several scriptures:
[Jesus said] “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:4)
“Let us make man in our own image” (Genesis 1:26).
“It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).
God has always existed in community, even before the world began. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost had fellowship one with another. That triune God made man in His image, with a desire to be connected to God and to other people.
When people connect in healthy ways, what develops around their relationships is a strong culture. Many business books have been written on the importance of the shared values that develop in the community of a well-run, purposeful organization. Patrick Lencioni famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Culture may be difficult to maintain or develop without the shared space of the office. This is one reason why working from home may not be a solution for everyone.
Efficiency is not the goal of the human race, and business models must reflect and honor the way we are made. How work might change in the future is an open question. However we change, we must remember the way we have been made. The key to true and lasting productivity is to live in the way we were made to live – in relationship with people, and in relationship to God.