Propinquity: the Science Behind Physical Proximity and the Impact On Our Lives
Propinquity is defined as nearness in physical space; a simple idea with tremendous implications. Physical proximity has a profound effect on who we interact with; interactions breed communication, allowing for effective transfer of knowledge. Implicitly, we know that being in close proximity with someone gives us opportunities for things to happen and knowledge to be shared.
Physical nearness, once a positive and mundane occurrence, has temporarily become inaccessible, thus promptly replaced by remote communication. With health and safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind, society made the difficult but necessary adjustment to remote work and gatherings. For many, our workplace environments consist of only ourselves and a screen, often resulting in loss of connection with coworkers and feelings of seclusion.
As a result, there has been a dramatic shift in workplace culture and general attitude towards remote work. It’s both impressive and remarkable how quickly society progressed from anger and disbelief to acceptance and adaptation. Though many of us have seemingly become accustomed to walking a dozen steps to our makeshift home offices, our overall perception of the workplace environment has changed. Once a mindset of teamwork and relationships, the
workplace has evolved into a culture infused with isolation and solitude.
The desire for physical nearness is an innate human response which lies at the heart of every relationship. All other things being equal, with repeated exposure to a stimulus comes increased opportunity for interaction. Propinquity is what allows us to form bonds with others, and thus communicate and transfer knowledge.
Take a moment to reflect back to this time last year, a time where you could walk the streets safely unmasked, and didn’t think twice about attending group events or gatherings. How have your relationships changed since then? Has the distance changed your perception of the workplace?
As society progresses and we work to overcome present and future challenges the world sends our way, we must not forget about the value of propinquity. Our goal at Haig Service is to allow you to
gather and be physically close to others safely so we can once again be a society governed by propinquity.