All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual. Albert Einstein

“Do you know how much it cost me to come here and meet you for coffee?”

I overheard the above statement at my field office of Spazhouse, Intuitive Research, housed in a lovely coffee shop near my home office. Before this statement was issued, the banter was friendly between two colleagues on summer break from their academic careers. This statement certainly did strike me as very odd.

The fellow recounted the actual amount this visit impacted his wallet. The loss of time, travel from his home then the return trip. The cost of their time together was a factor. Gas prices were a concern as well as the price of being at a specialty coffee shop that was not a national brand. His colleague remained silent as he ran down his list. At the end she deftly shifted the conversation to their academic work for the fall semester. In fact she brought up a new project that was to be implemented in their work. This fellow had no clue about this. She explained some of the nuances of what administration wanted of them.

I lost interest into their conversation soon after as it moved into details of their work then family. I have often wondered if this gentleman realized the value he received by leaving his house to meet his colleague? If that was me I would be very grateful for the information a colleague gave me. Not being caught off guard at the beginning of a busy semester seems to me a very valuable bit of information.

I venture to what I like to call field offices. Coffee shops, libraries, work spaces and such. Instead of the cost of leaving I utilize a return on investment. I don’t view the paying of coffee or loss of time it takes to get to a place as lost money. Being very social, I take into consideration that I may meet someone who I would like to get to know. Not in the strict, “I may make a connection to gain a new client” but, a way to increase a community for me and my company. There is a return on my investing in on a local business and the patrons who frequent the field offices.

Leave your home office with the intent on making connections, or doing deep work. Keep in mind the investment into venturing out. Try the uncomfortable habit of introducing yourself to a regular. The likelihood that people you encounter at a coffee shop who are in your field of work is slim. That does not mean you discard making a connection. You never know where just getting to know someone will take you.

Creating connections helps build communities and ecosystems. A simple smile and inquiring, how are you are starting points. Then move on to introducing yourself. This builds familiarity and trust. See coffee shop talk as water cooler or coffee talk moments.  Connecting relieves the lonely aspect of working on your own. Also, these connections are beneficial to your overall mental health. A boost your bodies of oxytocin is a certainly a way to stay positive. Enjoy bouncing ideas off on to someone who is not in your field of work just to gain a different perspective.

Rethink your idea of cost vs investment in leaving your home office.  You may find this change in thought will have immeasurable benefit your health and a positive outlook on the work you do.