Com Pane — Breaking Bread in Your Organization

I used to bake bread for our family, specifically Challah, about once a month. We didn’t celebrate the sabbath in our home every week, but our family knew that when they smelled the aromatic Challah, we would be having a “formal” dinner. They could expect that everyone would sit at the table, engage in active conversation, and be a loving family for at least 30 minutes.

Bloomberg posted this article in April:

Workers Are Winning the Return-to-Office War Because They’re Right

My big takeaway from the article is this:

The important lesson that employers learned from Covid is that companies are more than just “nexuses of contacts,” as Michael Jensen and William Meckling put it in 1976. They are social organizations that are in the business of transmitting unique cultures. In fact, the word “company” is comprised of two Latin words “com” and “pane,” meaning breaking bread together. When it comes to passing on the tricks of the trade, generating a sense of camaraderie, or solving collective problems, there is nothing better than sharing the same space. 

Whether your organization never stopped meeting on site, you have gone fully virtual, or you started a new hybrid model, when you are together don’t overlook time to break bread. If you are a senior leader, meet with all of your direct reports at least once a month. Get to know each other as people, refrain from always discussing job responsibilities, and just talk as two people about your lives outside of work. If you are a department head, bring your remote employees together at least quarterly, and be sure to throw some fun into the mix while you are all together. If you are an employee seeking connection, try starting a company-sponsored pickleball or bowling team.  

And when you are in my area, please let me know and I will make Challah and share a meal with you. My husband loves meeting my work family, and we have plenty of room around our table. Remember that the root words of “company” are about breaking bread together. When will you next break bread with your work family?

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