It gets to Thursday and The Helens are always, always Zoomed Out. It’s become a new thing. And yet another reason to reward ourselves with a packet of Leibniz Chocolate biscuits (one is never, ever enough).
Back in March we leapt onto the Zoom bandwagon with enthusiasm and wonder at how easy it was to carry out meetings without having to leave the comfort of our homes. How we enjoyed having a good old nosey into other people’s houses, remarking on their excellent taste in wallpaper or the photos of their family displayed around the room.
But like most things, the novelty quickly wore off. Why was it that an hour long Zoom call could leave us more drained than a 2hrs car journey on the M60? (and with The Other Helen in the car, that’s saying something).
One reason why video calls can feel more tiring than face to face meetings is that we rely heavily on non-verbal cues, which we can’t pick up over video. Our brains are working much harder over a video call to read expressions and body language.
And then there’s the dreaded ‘unstable internet’ problem. Just as we’re about resolve a client’s issue, everyone freezes, and then disappears. Can you imagine this happening in a face to face meeting? (that would actually be quite funny. I may try that one day).
In the hope of solving the issue, everyone tries to switch their videos off, some mute themselves, some just fail to re-appear and before you know it the whole meeting has disintegrated into a black hole. It’s exhausting.
The nature of your business and the reason for you having to use video conferencing will determine your solution to these issues. For The Helens, we’ve realised old fashioned conference calls are sometimes the preferred option. They’re significantly less tiring and often more productive.
For a while there we forgot we don’t actually have to use a video call to speak to someone. Which is liberating for many reasons – not only because I no longer have to brush my hair and tidy my house before I speak to a client.