Thoughts on Zoom Meetings—Is It Time to Move Back to In-Person Ones?
In the world today, completing all our usual day to day tasks online instead of in-person has become the new normal. As adapted to technology as we are, and as useful as it may be, it can be draining having to worry about all the side effects it comes with that we never would have considered beforehand. Zoom fatigue is real, and it has us wondering, is it time to go back to the office, and meet in-person (In a COVID Safe way)?
Finding the Perfect Background
One downside to not meeting face-to-face and having to make video calls is finding the right set up. Not everyone has a home office and making calls with your unmade bed or sink full of dirty dishes in the background can be frowned upon, leaving many with no choice but to use a pre-set background from the app, and these are often faulty (not to mention, sometimes corny). Our homes are meant to be sacred spaces, the last thing we want is Debbie from accounting judging our home décor. So instead, we opt to sit in front of a stock photo of the beach, which is just another distraction for everyone else in the call. The novelty of working from home has long worn off, and face-to-face meetings are a much more seamless method of communication as none of this is a concern, the playing field is even.
Another benefit of face-to-face meetings, and likely the most obvious, is communication. Talking to people who are physically in the same room as us adds another layer to the way we communicate that we miss out on when talking online. A large part of the conversation is nonverbal signals, such as facial expressions, gestures, and tone. Noticing these factors in the speaker comes naturally when listening to someone in person, we don’t even consciously know that we’re picking up on them. This is another reason that we often finish Zoom meetings feeling more exhausted than we would otherwise, natural conversation has become something we have to consciously put the effort into doing. In-person meetings not only make it easier to gauge what’s actually going on (“what does my employee really mean when they say that?”), it also allows us to get work done quicker and more efficiently.
Lastly – we miss our co-workers. We all know that social interaction is a necessity, and good relationships with our team members are what makes us, and our work, thrive. Meeting with colleagues to chat about what’s on the agenda for the day, next month’s figures or that super-cute thing your new puppy did last night while you’re grabbing your morning coffee together builds rapport, and a close-knit collaborated team produces better work together than they would as individuals who are working alone.
The sooner we can get out of our pyjamas and back into the office, the better it is for everyone. The novelty of Zoom calls has definitely run its course, and in all the little things we took for granted in-person meetings are something that can’t be replaced.