Ten months without breaking bread

There were three candy bowls on my office floor.

There were snacks in the kitchen and, occasionally, leftovers from a business lunch.

I often had lunch with colleagues in the cafeteria. Sometimes we went out to eat.

One Friday each month someone would bring breakfast treats for the whole floor. Once a year we had a holiday pot luck.

I’ve had meals at my boss’ home. I’ve had my team over for dinner at my house.

My best memories of business travels around the globe all have one thing in common: sharing some local fare with colleagues, everyone joking and laughing and smiling.

All this is gone now.

Food is a connector. It brings us together. It forces different conversations, revealing who we are and not simply what we do. We crave these connections. Breaking bread together is a tradition in all cultures. To be human is to eat together. From times immemorial.

We can’t fill this need with a Zoom meal. This craving will remain unfulfilled until the pandemic is over. It will affect the mental health of every employee to some degree.

Leaders must be mindful of this reality. They must find other ways to connect with their team. They must ask employees to follow social distancing rules, to wear a mask, to wash their hands and to get vaccinated.

May we all soon get back together and raise our glasses to good health.

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