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The New Normal: Remote Meetings

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Why Video Calls Are So Important Right Now...And When They Should Be Avoided At All Costs.

If you listen to the media, you'd be forgiven for thinking everyone is on constant video calls.

And, for many people, Zoom fatigue is real. For others, video calls are a welcome break the monotony and isolation of the much smaller world we are living in. We're social animals and the lack of contact with others can have a big impact.

The advantages are obvious: face-to-face communication helps us learn the nuances of others' body language and pick up on intonation when they speak. Who hasn't experienced the perils that come from a hastily-typed text or email? The one where your reaction was misread, your comment was taken out of context, or your intentions were misinterpreted.

Even if our social interactions have the video quality of a knock-off DVD, it still helps put some of the realness back into our communication with others. If you have a new starter or client, video calls can really help build a relationship. PRO-TIP: glance at your camera like you would check you mirrors when driving. It helps people feel like you are making eye contact.

Relationships are at the heart of people feeling part of an organisation, so if you're a manager or leader who wants to make sure your team still feel like a team, you will probably want people to have their camera on in meetings. Generally, we agree that having your camera on for calls is a GOOD THING. But there are exceptions. If you spend your day at a computer screen, meetings were probably your one break from that.

We've had reports of people suffering from headaches and migraines, seemingly exacerbated by all the extra time staring at screens. Being stationary all day long is not good for anyone's mental or physical health. So, there's a balance, because poor health is in no-one's best interest.

In a post-COVID world, it seems likely video calls will be here to stay. To bring that balance, there are a few things your workplace can do to support. Suggest an old fashioned phone call or, if restrictions allow, a socially-distanced in-person meeting. For meetings when you don't need to look at the screen, don't. Scribble in a note pad. Move your to do list back to a paper one. If you don't need your camera on and can just listen, dial in on audio so you can get up and move around. Create conscious breaks from technology in your day.

We've shifted much of our lives into the online world, and the last year has seen us do this at an unprecedented rate...whether we were comfortable with that or not. Many organisations we speak to expect flexible working to remain a firm feature and our colleagues in recruitment tell us that some of their best candidates are including this on their requirements for their next move. For many of us, video calls are now a staple of our daily lives and as a component of remote working can bring about some great benefits.

If you have a story to share about your experience of home-working, or how your workplace has embraced flexibility then get in touch. We'd love to hear from you and you could feature as a guest blogger.

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