2019 ended much like every year before it. My dad scheduled his final appointments in Chicago with his physicians; he loaded his suitcase, and he flew back to Greece. For those of you who don’t know, my dad has spent winters with my family in Illinois for the last decade plus and then returns to Greece for summers. While he was more than happy to help with mundane tasks like laundry and cooking, I know the primary reason for his visits was to see his grandkids. My dad lights up around the kids, and he loves nothing more than watching them at football, basketball, lacrosse, theater, dance, and everything in between.

Much like everyone else, our lives were taken off guard in 2020. For the last seven months, my 86-year-old father has been stuck in Greece, while my family remains in the states. We’ve done our best to stay connected through Zoom calls, FaceTime, and Skyping, but as we all know, there’s no replacement for the feeling of being with your loved ones in person. 

After a less-than-an-ideal medical diagnosis, and upon gaining permission from the Greek consulate, my brother and I were able to fly to Greece recently to be with my dad and the rest of our family. Getting the opportunity to hug someone I wasn’t sure I’d ever even see again was such an incredible moment that I’ll never forget. Seeing his smile, his interactions with his friends, and conversations with my aunt were things I’d never experienced through any of my FaceTime calls. But it was my dad’s actual words on the second day of my trip that has left me reeling. 

“No matter how much time we talk on the phone or see each other on the computer, nothing compares to you actually being here.”

My dad is the toughest person I know and I wholeheartedly agree with him that nothing can ever replace the connections and bonds you form by physically being around others. 

At Medix, we’ve been working remotely for the last seven months as well. Some companies are already making decisions to work remotely indefinitely, and while I won’t count that out, I’m holding out hope that someday soon we can return to the office instead (safely and responsibly of course). My team has proven time and time again they can handle remote working, as they’re all producing at more efficient levels than ever before. But at what cost? 

To me, there is more to business than production and metrics. There are personal relationships built around a quick coffee chat and lasting friendships formed over cubicles. This company has allowed me to form friendships turned into family, and I so desperately want my peers and colleagues to have that same opportunity. Getting to be a part of someone’s life, not because of your blood, but because you were chosen is such a special journey and I cherish all of the memories I’ve made with my Medix Ohana over the years. 

For now, we will continue to find unique and fun ways to try and build those emotional connections through technology, but I am eagerly awaiting the day we all come together under the same roof, and we can rejoice to have our work family around us once again.