Now that we’re out of the office - and have been for months - it’s time for a review of our post-pandemic professional practices.
We’ve all done a stellar job at adapting to this year’s circumstances. Each of us has been able to fall into an at-home business flow, still working together with the rest of the team even though we’re apart. This alone has been a major win. Before it actually happened, it might have sounded impossible: for entire teams to be in separate places but still working harmoniously.
I’m not a person who looks at accomplishments and walks away. Instead, I’m always looking to push the limits. Optimization, proficiency, and problem-solving are my passions, what can I say?
Looking at Zoom Fatigue
The biggest pain point I’ve observed (and experienced) throughout COVID’s work from home era is Zoom fatigue. I’ve written on this in the past, mostly covering ways that we can all prevent ourselves from feeling drained after hours of video conferencing.
But, lately, I’ve been thinking… are those hours of Zooming even necessary? They do facilitate an open stream of team communication, but if they are exhausting everyone, there’s an issue that needs to be solved. Lord, please help us!
The main thing that’s problematic about constant Zoom calls is that they’re long, distracting, and tiring — not to mention the “am I on mute” … Since we’re preoccupied with the video call, we’re not able to fully focus on our tasks at hand. Plus, we have to deal with the added burden of feeling depleted from being on the call. It seems like all-day Zooming makes team members less sharp.
It may not be terrible for everyone since we all have our own ways of dealing with WFH stressors. But, we need to think about what’s best for the group - even down to the individual level. Support has never been more important.
The problem isn’t talking and collaborating with our sphere. That’s a necessity. The problem is the way that we’ve been approaching this need.
A Possible Solution: Communication Bursts
My latest inspiration is the idea of the “communication burst.”
Instead of the all-day-every-day Zoom conferences, perhaps we’d do better if we briefly synced with teams at key points in the workday. Maybe having calls in the morning and then again at the end of the day would give team members the space to actually focus on our work in between meetings.
Why do football teams come together in the huddle before a game? It’s a brief encounter, but it’s powerful. Quickly coming together before tackling a challenge brings out the team spirit and collaborative energy - helping everyone do their best as an individual.
These small communication bursts are so effective that sports games literally revolve around them: teams coming together to strategize and then separating to enact the plan. Look at how coaches call timeouts to keep everyone on track, or how the whole point of halftime is to sync.
Even if it’s only ten minutes, or just to say good morning, jumping into a “Zoom huddle” will get everyone in resonance.
There’s a reason why companies spend billions on culture, spaces, and gatherings. Bonds are essential to professional success… and right now, we have the chance to review, improve, and find new solutions.