Zooming Outta Control

The current world climate, a COVID world where everyone works remote, is tough! I have been working remotely for about 6 years and I didn’t ‘get the hang of it’ for at least 1, and yet, we’re expecting folks today to be productive overnight. Rough.

One of the main complaints I hear is how much time people are having to spend on zoom/video calls. Yes, if you are working from home, it’s inevitable that when in meetings you will be on zoom calls. But, I truly think we are using zoom to solve for something beyond ‘needing a meeting.’ 

So what void might we be trying to fill with zoom?

  • A desire for human connection?
  • A boss who wants to ensure work is being done through visuals?
  • Confusion about how remote work is even done?

To me, when an organization is distributed (especially during COVID), it is even more critical to have meetings ONLY when necessary. 

A few reasons I say this is:

  • Folks with added responsibility at home due to COVID have even less time to waste
  • There are more distractions at home (especially for those new to working remotely without a proper setup) so folks are honestly less likely to pay attention
  • Everyone is just doing their best mentally right now so give people a dang brain break!

So, first things first, when should you be having meetings?

  • If there is a time constraint – sometimes async communications can be slow due to time zones. When an update, decision, etc needs to be worked through and/or communicated quickly, you might need a meeting.
  • If it involves emotions/people issues – let’s face it, text can be interpreted differently depending on the reader. If there is a sensitive issue involved, sometimes it’s just better to have a meeting.
  • If it’s complex – writing a challenging issue can be daunting to some folks, maybe talking through it as a meeting would be best. (pro tip – maybe it’s a kickoff meeting followed by async work).
  • If you want and/or need everyone to find out at the same time – there’s no guarantee people will read a written message at the same time. If it needs to be heard as a group, a meeting is best.

Hot Take: People have meetings instead of an alternative because it’s less work to throw together a meeting than write thoughtful communication….don’t be that person.

The TLDR is it’s more critical now than ever to work towards having meetings only when necessary and making them productive (which can only happen through prep work).

There’s some additional posts needed here about how to effectively request feedback in order to move work along async and how to get that human connection without loading peoples calendars with unnecessary meetings, but more on that later.

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