Opinion

The ZOOM where it happens…

Over the past the past 5 months, I’ve been keeping notes on how work is getting done: at home, in split shifts, in conference rooms with masks, with scheduled yet informal check-ins, with earlier start and end-times to the work day… I am energized by thinking about how work works, and how to make it work so we’re all a bit happier.

In conversations with coworkers and friends about how they are managing this new world of work, the sentiment around video calls has swung from “I’m so glad we have all this technology” to “I am ZOOM fatigued!”

It’s funny because it’s true.

Both are true – simultaneously. Here are my top 5 favorite pieces of ZOOMing advice:

  1. Cameras OFF: Not all meetings need to be on camera. Managers, be strategic and generous about when you ask your team to be on camera. Internal meetings may not need to happen via video. We can also set boundaries: “I’m here but off camera right now”, and then be sure to follow-up with active participation in the call. I also know of one leader who has “video free Tuesdays”: clear boundaries and a predictable break from video calls.
  2. Self View OFF: The most direct ZOOM coaching I’ve been giving is to turn off your self-view. Our brains are not designed to look at ourselves all day, every day. A corollary to this is to use speaker view instead of gallery view – it will feel much more like a conversation than a convention.
  3. Suit Up: I don’t know anyone dressing for work in the same as when they were going to the office. Yet, you’re still “at work”: which means dressing for your day. Things may be more casual and informal – but I can guarantee that coworkers and clients are noticing if it seems like you’re taking their call as an afterthought.
  4. Virtual backgrounds: Fun, but distracting. Also necessary for anyone who may be trying to work from the kitchen table. Keep them simple at work, and if possible, sit in front of a solid, blank wall.
  5. Hold Social Boundaries: Just because you technically can attend a virtual social event doesn’t mean you should. We may have more time and availability, yet squeezing in another FaceTime meeting with a long-distance friend can add to that feeling of video overwhelm. You can decline invites – and reclaim that time to unplug and disconenct.

Tell me what you’d add to this list?

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