Zoom fatigue and the live video meeting is dead!
by Najette Fellache
Let’s be frank : The live video meeting is dead !!!
Zoom fatigue is real and the world has changed and nothing will be the same: Companies all around the world are shifting to remote work, employees have been adopting new work habits for more than 8 months now. So let’s be honest, employees won’t return to the office as before. Remote work is no longer a temporary situation. You have to create your future environment of work right now because it’s the new norm.
So when companies shift suddenly from a 100% office environment to a home environment, what do they do? They shift all their in person meetings to Zoom video meetings! Really?? Some even double down on it to be sure their employees are working!!
What happened? Zoom fatigue became the new popular hashtag and people were less productive and less engaged. And we are not talking about “Zoom bombing”!
I think we have to completely reinvent the way of working, communicating, collaborating and learning in this new world and not just duplicate what we do in person in a digital form.
I BELIEVE THAT THE FUTURE OF WORK IS ASYNC VIDEO COMMUNICATION.
Async video meetings are all about optimizing your team’s time, and they are a great way to get information in front of people who don’t have availability for a meeting, or who are working remotely across multiple time zones. When you work in the way I do, having time to think on and internalize information before acting is critical.
Instead of coordinating schedules, opt to send a quick async video with key info that your remote colleagues can view during normal work hours.
Asynchronous communication allows people to first absorb and then act on information when they are able to, rather than the moment a piece of information is put in front of them.
Here are my 5 beliefs to embrace this new world :
1. The remote worker is FREE, completely FREE. Zoom fatigue is not part of the equation.
Your employees are working remotely, they decide where and when. They are working from their personal environment, so you don’t oversee how they want to manage their time and where they can or want work. You don’t offer them a work environment anymore so you have to admit that you also lost this power.
If an employee wants to work from 5am and go hiking or kayaking by 2pm, he can do that!! Why not? Trust me, he will be much more productive.
Let’s talk about children: When you are working from home, you are sharing the same family space and property. You cannot ask them everyday “Please be quiet, I will be on a zoom meeting.”
Seriously!! I am sure this generation will hate zoom fatigue. They are synonyms to online school and now “mom and dad are not available”! You are physically here but not really here, it’s difficult for our loved ones. We need to take that in consideration and not impose our timing on others.
I encourage your people to work the hours that suit them and their lives, in the middle of what is a stressful time for everyone.
I think we need to be more respectful of each other’s time and not interrupt with alive meeting each time we need it.
We need to be more respectful of each others’ home life: We enter each other’s personal space. It’s why weet captures a small portion of your background and you can even blur it.
2. The remote worker is MORE PRODUCTIVE without zoom fatigue
With asynchronous communication you allow yourself – or your employees – to put all energy into what you do each time and have better control over your workload.
In workplaces where asynchronous collaboration is reinforced and enabled with technology, productivity is higher. People can follow their agenda and complete daily tasks more easily when they are able respond to their colleagues’ requests based on bandwidth or set up time slots throughout the week to prepare feedback for specific projects. Plus, by focusing their attention on one task at a time they have a more detailed look and bring in better results.
3. Working remotely = HUMAN & EMOTION
It’s important to keep a human and emotional connection with our team and clients even if we cannot see them in person. I personally attach great importance to emotional communication where I can see facial expressions, hear a warm voice, and feel others’ mood.
A lot can be lost in translation in writing, including empathy, body and facial language, and often the attention of the reader when it’s a long note.
Async videos accomplish a number of things that emails or text chat cannot. They create more of a human connection, which makes it easier to understand each other and makes it clear to the recipient that the ideas being shared are well understood. Async meetings are ideal for giving feedback, because empathy comes through much more clearly when you can see face-to-face or hear a warm voice.
You’ll be surprised by the power of emojis in a video or just how a voice tonality can say a lot!
Every person is different and some are not comfortable with the camera. For this reason, we offer the capability to record without the camera but we always show a profile picture in all the videos: It’s a good way to keep a human connection.
And Weet offers the ability to add filters on your webcam to create a fun environment and make your teammates smile 😉
We also discovered that async video gives a voice to those who are quieter. Contributing to live meetings can often rely on speaking skills of speed and volume, while async videos let people share their thoughts at their own pace.
While some people prefer reacting spontaneously others need time to think and video recordings accommodate both approaches to produce a clear “leave-behind” that allows everyone to review feedback at their own speed.
4. STOP CHAT & LONG MEETINGS
Working remotely equals working alone. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to concentrate. Not to mention stay focused after zoom fatigue sets in.
Have you ever found it difficult to concentrate on your daily job duties after being interrupted by an unexpected casual chit-chat about a project your colleague is working on? It’s fine if this happens sometimes because mutual support and camaraderie is a critical part of being a team. But what if it interferes with your productivity?
Avoid being interrupted and interrupted for just asking a question. Divide your time between working time and communicating time.
Recent research has shown that we live in a more collaborative era; We schedule our working day around meetings, Slack conversations and emails with our colleagues and sometimes these events could take up 80% of a full working day:
This can be detrimental to our performance; Technically we spend more time hopping from one meeting to another or replying to messages than focusing solely and mindfully on our tasks.
For example, I shut down all my notifications and connect only 4 times in the day to check my emails and my weets. What is great is that if someone needs to ask me a question and would need to do it in a live meeting, he can record it and I answer when I am available. You cannot imagine the freedom that it gives me and above all, the time I gain!
Why async video meetings are so effective : We talk faster than we type and we retain more information when delivery is via video. Plus people can review recorded videos at their own convenience.
I want to make a clarification : I am not saying to cut off all the live meetings (at least 2/3) but for those that are necessary, put 30min max in your agenda settings. It seems sometimes too short but you will see people will accomodate.
2020 has been a challenging year, no doubt. But one thing is clear – the way we have adapted will inform how we work for years to come, empowering us all to do the best work of our lives. Allowing people to work at a time and a pace that suits them is key to this. All while combatting zoom fatigue and minimizing meetings.
In this new remote world, we can hire anywhere in the globe. Embracing async collaboration allows companies to access a wider range of candidates and freelancers all around the world;
5 tips to embrace async video meetings :
1- the most important: Emphasize trust, organization & independence: Evaluate people based on their results, not the number of hours spent online or number of emails.
2 – Be cool with the video as a media: Not everyone is comfortable with a camera, communicate that it’s ok to cut off the webcam. You are not looking for perfection, just authenticity; Your employees can record their video as they talk in a real conversation.
3 – Create an async culture mindset: Explain how it works, share the benefits, share some examples and ask top management to begin by creating some enthusiastic video messages and above all, share that in async communication, we don’t wait for an immediate answer. And thus we combat zoom fatigue.
4 – Ask your employees and teammates for feedback: Does it work? What are their feelings?
5 – Minimize the number of meetings you have, but don’t blacklist them. The async work communication stack looks something like this:
80% async video
15% live video meetings
5% physical meetings, e.g., annual company or team retreats