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Joe Szynkowski: Feeling zapped by zoom? You’re not alone
Column | WORKHAPPY

Joe Szynkowski: Feeling zapped by zoom? You’re not alone

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A new study says workers have grown tired of video conferences.

What took us so long?

Platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Webex are amazing tools that allow for a virtualized work experience. They were instrumental in bringing teams back together at the onset of the pandemic.

But lagging Wi-Fi, hit-and-miss webcams, and that elusive mute button have left many of us frustrated at the thought of jumping on yet another video call.

Count me as one of them.

I’ve had as many as 40 video calls hit my calendar in a given week. 40! If death by video conference isn’t a thing yet, it will be soon.

(Un)Meaningful Meetings

Let me go on record by echoing my favorite business book of all time, “Rework:” Meetings are toxic. Yet, business leaders love filling their days with numerous – oftentimes pointless – assemblies.

In 2018, I supported a senior executive at Sprint who literally was in back-to-back meetings from 6:30 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. multiple days of the week. During my first on-site consultation with him, he handed me an espresso before we started our chat. The fact that he had an espresso machine in his office was a telltale sign. “I need help staying awake through these meetings,” he joked.

At least I think he was joking.

If you’re in charge of a team and have been forced to collaborate via video, the last thing you want to do is to burn out your workers. Zoom overload will zap their creativity and leave them little time in between meetings to get actual work done.

Here are a few tips to keep your workers engaged:

Make Them Efficient: A video meeting should never be longer than 15 minutes. Get to the point and send follow-up emails on any outstanding items.

Think Before You Meet: You owe it to your team to put some thought into a meeting before putting it on their calendar. What is the point of the meeting? What do you hope to achieve? Without clear direction, you’re simply meeting to meet. And that’s a recipe for frustration.

Consider Email or Chat: Is the topic of your meeting able to be hashed out through a company email or chat conversation? There are many collaboration tools like Slack or Google Chat that allow employees to have real-time conversations without having to hop on camera.

The Zoom Revolution

As we’ve transferred meetings from conference rooms to dining rooms, the Zoom Revolution has infiltrated our personal lives at a disturbing clip.

The study mentioned at the top of this column says we are engaged in an “unnaturally large amount of eye contact” and “stressed out by being confronted with our own face for hours on end.” The need to appear focused and perfectly centered in frame is also adding to our anxiety level, the study says.

These are valid points, but I think something larger is at play. For workers who actually enjoy what they do, nonstop video meetings make it impossible to find momentum on projects. If we are constantly shifting from meeting to meeting – all of which have different topics – it’s impossible to produce focused, quality work.

It’s time to call the Zoom Revolution what it is.

History.

Joe Szynkowski is a Sr. Director for NuVinAir Global, a Dallas-based company disrupting the automotive industry. Thanks to technology, he does so happily from his home east of Marion. Check out www.workhappiest.com for his WorkHappy Spotlights or email Joe@TheUpWriteGroup.com for more guidance on finding career joy.

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