It’s remarkable how quickly technology changes the way we do business.
I hired my first employee three months ago and yet, until recently, he and I had never met in person. We had connected via phone, email, Skype, and Google Chat — which is all well and good, of course, but it didn’t really help us to forge the kind of intangible bond that comes from meeting in person. So, I decided to make it happen.
I’d racked up quite a few business-related frequent flier miles, and I figured there were few better ways to use them than to bring my employee, who’s based in Texas, out to California for a few days of work. I’m glad I did.
For two days, we worked in the same room alongside my newest employee, who lives near my office in Long Beach. Collaborating on various tasks was productive, but the time we spent together outside of work was even more important. The first day, we drove to the In-N-Out Burger that famously sits under the flight path (approach) to the northern runways at LAX. The second day, we went to dinner at the Proud Bird, which overlooks the approach on the south side. The meals gave us time to discuss subjects other than work, something that rarely happens when we’re chatting online. Meanwhile, being close to the airport kept the air-travel theme going — and reminded us that we’re in this business because we love it.
Flying my employee to California was a fantastic way to strengthen our relationship, and I realized how important meeting face-to-face is. I’d love to do the same for my independent contractors. But that’s a tougher task, because my budget isn’t yet big enough (and they all have other clients, too, which makes timing difficult). So, I’ll save that issue for another day. For now, at least I know that my employees and I occasionally need face time that doesn’t involve, well, FaceTime.