Deeper Conversation = Greater Happiness: Does Your Home Office Support This?

The New York Timeshad a recent article about a study indicating the more time you spend having substantive conversations the happier you will be. People who spent more time with small talk reported being less happy with their lives.

Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona, stated “…people who spend more of their day having deep discussions and less time engaging in small talk seem to be happier.”

Why? Two reasons: 1 – we need to find meaning in our lives and just talking about the weather doesn’t do it. And 2, we are social creatures and need to connect with other people.

Does your home office set up hinder real conversation and connection with others or support it?

Architectural Psychology has identified interpersonal distance and eye contact as two of the most powerful factors in personal connection and bonding. Technology cannot replace person-to-person contact. Emails are for idea-oriented messages. Twitter and texting is for nano-small talk. Not only do you connect with another when with them in person, but you can read – consciously and un-consciously – subtle facial expressions and tone of voice that clue you into how the other person is responding to you, your ideas, your proposal.

If you see clients in your home office do you interact with them across your desk? This can be perceived as formal and distancing. If you have the space, consider a small round table for interviewing and collaborating with your clients and vendors.

Many of us work alone at home and do not see clients or colleagues there. Then it is essential to get out of your home office and meet with them face-to-face. This not only strengthens bonds but also supports your human need for contact with others. Peace and quiet to work is one thing, but enforced isolation is a major stressor. Get out of your office and meet a friend or colleague at a coffee shop or for lunch. You will return to your office refreshed and re-focused.

What do you think? Does face-to face contact with others boost your morale and focus? Or does email and twittering give you the connections your need – mentally and emotionally?