Thirty years ago, the workplace was in many ways a more structured place, one where open-plan offices were unheard of, yet face-to-face communication was valued as critical to a company’s success and growth. What have we lost in the transition to a more fast-paced, less formal workflow? Quite a lot, says Bob Frisch, who remembers the executive dining rooms of the 1980s as places were colleagues indulged in a daily ritual that was not only a welcome break in the workday, but also a time to get advice, build relationships and answer questions in an efficient, collegial environment. It was, he remembers, “a critical organizational lubricant, reducing friction and allowing the gears to turn much more smoothly.” As more and more of us struggle to find time for cross-functional communications, it may be worth bringing this concept back.  

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