Is networking changing?
By Chris Ogle on November 30th 2022
Following on from the last blog post a month or so ago regarding Networking- post pandemic I'd like to continue the thought process about what might we do next, bearing in mind the volatility of the world and the uncertainty that goes with it.
During the pandemic suffice to say that those with a higher propensity to network were those in business as they had a much higher vested interest. Networking was still possible during the restrictions but in the main through applications like Zoom, and they did continue.
Less necessary maybe were the community styled gatherings of which Link4Growth's very own coffee, and drinks events fit into. These were in our experience maintained for a while, but without the physical contact, and variety (different locations/venues) much of the "reason "for attending diminished.
We have a very different world today. Often Link4Growth community events have been viewed as "Free" networking for business, and you could clearly see why! Many people at the lower echelons of business size: (One man bands) want to get as much for their 'buck' as possible and being able to go, and meet others for free is attractive. Who can blame them, I certainly don't!
Since the pandemic though things are quite a bit different. Many people have decided to hang up their boots and discontinue their business. Having got used to a different mode of life, they have decided they can do without the pressure and stress. Electing instead for more activities with family, friends, and other things they would rather spend-their time doing. This could be considered a kind of early retirement, or even a decision to actually retire rather than continue working.
For many though the above is not an option, but the events of the past few years have nevertheless had their impact. Accordingly, having had a taste of different activities or projects, they no longer want to return to what they were doing, seeking something maybe that has long been a passion and provides a better work/life balance. These choices often come with sacrifices but could be deemed acceptable if along with them comes greater levels of happiness.
With more people working from home and staying in their community (rather than commuting) the "workplace" is beginning to shift, a long since spoken prediction that the word "job" was in real terms just a fleeting phenomena from the Industrial Revolution may just end up coming true.
Globally we are beginning to see the emergence of new trends that do impact us all one way or another, some of these I have listed below
- Increased fuel costs and volatility in supply
- Less travel (community life)
- Food grown / created locally
- Work from home
- Move to decentralised models
- Climate change
- Move to renewable energy
- Electric cars (and associated commodity price squeezing)
- Spiralling cost of living (inflation, mortgages, energy)
- Interest rate rises (destruction of fiat currencies)
These trends push us gently towards living more and doing more in our local communities. The circumstances that are happening around us look like "on the face of it" to be taking us to a bygone era, but when we consider our connectivity via technology we are in a very different place.... maybe just maybe, our ambition for growth (at whatever cost) has led us to get bloated and inefficient, time to reverse the trend?
We are definitely at a crossroads and in a state of flux, so it is good to know that in all of this confusion Link4Growth is still stable and with the same goals & principles set out in 2010, namely those of supporting the building of community through encouraging conversation amongst those living nearby (local community).
As the boundaries between "business" and “doing what we love” (and are “needed” in the community) blur still further, it is highly probable that this will necessitate changes in how people come together to have those all important conversations. This is, and always will be, an ever evolving process.
Chris is passionate about community and has been involved with Link4Growth and community building since the start in 2012. Chris now devotes most of his time to facilitate connection, collaboration and community in the district of South West Herts as well as supporting the Link4Growth Association.