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My Love Affair With Zoom

Despite technical difficulties, and the temptation to wear pyjama pants, I have come to appreciate the benefits of videoconferencing.

As 2020 draws to a close I have had plenty of experience with videoconferencing and certainly with Zoom.

While most of the day remains quick emails and phone conversations, the usual meeting face to face was certainly overtaken by Zoom.

Now Zoom has become an essential part of my everyday work pattern.

The medium is relatively easy when dealing with clients and contacts I have known for years, and surprisingly works even with people you have never met.

Virtual meetings are certainly making scheduling simpler, and the time constraints around travel are gone. Clients are finding it very convenient to jump on a Zoom meeting from just about anywhere. Although, I have to say that, the very few who dial in while “walking the dog” seem to bring down the tone.

Some pundits are talking about “Zoom fatigue”, referring to feelings of tiredness and mental exhaustion experienced after too much videoconferencing.

It may be true that the medium requires a little more energy, and focus, what with poor video, audio, lighting and inept Zoomers.

Whilst I try and maintain professional standards with decent audio and lighting, not to mention hair and makeup, many of the people on the other end of the Zoom are less able to manage this.

Add to that the fact that many people working from home do not have a separate office setup, and I can find myself in the kitchen, the backyard, and even the bedroom.

One of the big choices on Zoom is to mute yourself, even if the meeting organiser did not. But how fast are you at unmuting, and getting back in the conversation? The spacebar has become my friend, kind of like the old CB radio days, I press the spacebar to talk, and let it go to mute again…snappy for sure.

Long silences can be uncomfortable, but the scramble when people are talking at the same time can be even worse. We all are learning new etiquette for this medium.

You know those family snaps, when you have framed everybody just right, there is balance in the composition, and it is a keeper. Unfortunately not many of us are aware of how we look to others on the video call. You get those people that you can see from the neck up, those that have their torso only, those that are too dark because of the window behind shining brightly.

It is always amusing to see the cat wondering through the frame, or the partner on their way to the little room!

Do you spend time looking at yourself, making sure you look just right?

Or for those that want to pretend they are in the meeting, turn off the video feed altogether, mute, and go off about your business, while all the while being “in attendance”.

Zoom has been great at keeping us all connected during our social distancing and work from home era. The technology is still a hurdle for some. But how many of us are actually looking forward to getting back to the office? The answer is not as clear as you might think. Many are quite happy with their new work from home status, and resist the call to come back.

Others miss the coffee bar vibe, and friendly banter.

Where will 2021 take us? One thing for sure, the new videoconferencing way is here to stay.

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