Video conferencing is a great way to stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues. I’m deeply grateful that in the uncertain times we’re facing due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are utilities which have allowed many of us to continue feeding our families.
That said, there are a few things that need to be brought to light regarding video conferencing which I think could bring some perspective and—dare I say sanity—to the discussion.
These days, a lot of us work in completely virtual as a direct result of COVID-19. Thus, video conferencing has become a workplace necessity for some. Unfortunately, it seems to have become almost a careless indulgence for others—and here’s where I think the needed perspective comes in.
A New Corporate Culture
The milieu of video conferencing lends itself to a more casual work environment since people have gotten more comfortable with being at home. But even allowing for comfort, people who are utilizing video conferencing for work purposes could make at least some effort toward professionalism…in most cases. People “meeting” new people should still try going for a step above the t-shirt and kitchen setting. Consider who is on the video, there’s just something unsettling about having a video conference where some parties’ work environment and appearance are neat as a pin and they have on a shirt and tie, while others look like they just rolled out of bed, with death metal posters and the bong visible in the background. But yes, if we meet on a regular basis you may see me with a tshirt, ponytail, and definitely no makeup.
Is This Really Necessary?
I’ve also been thinking that it’s time for us to look at the extent to which we are using video conferencing in the workplace.
On a typical workday, I am on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype video conference from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm or later, back-to-back, all day long. It is nothing short of exhausting having to be “on” like a movie or TV actor for that length of time. Let’s face it—the culture of video conferencing is different than if you were sitting around a conference table with a dozen or so coworkers in a traditional work environment or a conference call. A lot of things that are background in a traditional setting are front-and-center when you’re video conferencing, and most of them have to do with one’s appearance and behavior. I can’t multitask, I can’t walk to another room, I just have to sit in this one room, in front of this screen looking enthused for hours.
It used to be that video conferencing was reserved for when visual aids were absolutely essential. Now, many organizations appear to be scheduling Zoom sessions nearly every time they need to confer for anything.
In addition, it’s being used all weekend to connect with family and friends too! Yes, I am loving connecting with friends and family more and was even an early advocate with we produced this video to encourage virtual connections. Now, I’m starting to pull back on that on the weekend because I am exhausted from being on during the week.
Side Note – Is Zoom Becoming the New Kleenex?
We’re all aware of how a product or service often takes on the name of the preeminent product or service in that niche. People don’t ask for a facial tissue, they ask for a Kleenex. They don’t perform web searches, they Google. Just don’t know if Zoom is quite ready to be the next Kleenex, but I guess we’ll see.
Bottom line, I do love seeing all of your beautiful faces on video conferencing, but can we evaluate if it is really video conference worthy before scheduling the meeting.
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