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Zooming Through The Year – Literally!

Written by Krissy Fuller

Zooming through the year - literally!

You know the saying “time flies when you’re having fun?”  Does anyone else feel like it oddly moves faster when you’re in quarantine? I can’t be the only one.  It’s hard to believe we’re  already halfway through the year when it feels like just yesterday we were sending out reminders and notices for the new laws and forms for 2020 compliance.  

 

One thing is certain, things seemed to change overnight, and we’ve all been on a rollercoaster of adjustments.  Our office environment has been flipped upside down, and the virtual conference room is no longer just for the tech companies.  We’ve been forced to figure out new things like which room in our home is the least echo-y (no one wants to sound like they're taking a meeting in the bathroom), and how far from the router we can go without losing connection.  I even learned that my wearable technology can interfere with connection.  Who knew? Not me! That was a fun surprise.

 

With the new “workspace” of remote workers and virtual meetings it’s important to remember that virtual offices/workspaces still hold the same rules and guidelines as if all employees were in the office. That also applies to all of our virtual meetings.   While Zoom meetings (or whatever platform you use) are more engaging they  also provide their own unique situations.  Any guesses as to what areas can be problematic?

 

Dress Code:

If you guessed attire/dress code, you’ve earned 1000 points.  We’ve all seen the meme’s and videos of employee’s wearing a professional top, and less than appropriate bottoms (or in some cases none at all -ZOIKS!). Geico has a commercial poking fun at all the random things that can or have happened in virtual meetings.  While we can all laugh at the meme’s and commercials, it’s not a laughing matter if it happens to your company or employees.  Thankfully, these types of moments are completely preventable.  Maybe you’ve seen a change in appearance from the first virtual meeting to the 1,000 like Mr. Jackson here.

Determine what works for your company.  If you see something that doesn’t fit your culture or dress code, don’t hesitate to address it.  

 

Backdrop and Screen Sharing:

We’ve all seen it, you think your office/kitchen/living room is fine and then you reach for your coffee, the computer moves and suddenly everyone on the call sees your unfolded laundry. A number of video conferencing applications have virtual backgrounds that can eliminate the general distractions as well as prevent embarrassing moments.  This also applies to screen sharing - we’re in the age of multitasking and probably have more tabs open at any given time than necessary.  I’ve seen personal information be shared because the person didn’t check what was on their desktop before sharing.  Can anyone else relate?

I’ve found it helpful to sign on a few minutes early, and keep the video off while I check and see what’s in my surroundings, what’s on my desktop and if I need a virtual background or filter.  I mean let’s be real, some days coffee just doesn’t do the trick and I don’t look awake.  

 

Phone Call vs Video Call

Some of us are in full on protest mode of Zoom calls, and now prefer the once dreaded conference call.  Who here hasn’t sighed relief when they saw it was a video free meeting?  If you raised your hands, here’s another 1,000 points.  The important thing to remember is to make sure virtual meetings are being done equitably.  For example: if a manager checks in with female employees over the phone, but schedules video calls for men on the team this is a cause for concern.  If the topic of conversation warrants it, great.  But let’s make sure we aren’t using the video call to “check” certain employees.  

 

Virtual Happy Hours

“I’m ready to paaarrrrrttttyyyy!!!!!  You’re picturing Kristen Wig in Bridesmaids aren’t you?  Look who just earned another 1,000 points.  (If not, don’t worry, the points don’t matter and don’t do anything)  Let’s face it - quarantine is tough and we all need a space to hang out.  We long for the days of going and grabbing a drink or appetizer with a co-worker after a long, hard day.  Virtual happy hours are an amazing thing as it still lets us have that personal connection.  That said, the use of alcohol and communicating over a screen might decrease some formality.  If your company hosts this, and drinking is allowed (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere right) make sure that your employees are drinking responsibly just like you would for any other company sponsored event.   Ohh, and don’t forget to keep an ear out for any inappropriate comments, and be ready to act. 

 

Technology Issues

Can you hear me now?  Is anyone else surprised the Verizon guy is now a Sprint guy?  Has he been typecast?  I digress.  We’ve all had issues with connection, and making things function properly.  I’ve single handedly become the tech guru for my household.  Let’s just say, that’s not a good thing and will never be offered a job at the Genius Bar. (I hope you're laughing with me here).  Some of us struggle a little more with new technologies, and that’s ok.  Let’s just make sure we don’t let our employees make fun of each other for it due to race/age/gender etc?  Ok?   

If you’ve made it this far - here’s 5,000 points for you and an air high five (social distancing and clean hands and all). 

 

Now, go get ready for your next meeting! If it’s particularly boring, see how many of the common scenarios mentioned in this newsletter you can find. Sort of like a virtual meeting HR “Where’s Waldo”.   Winner gets 10,000 points.  

 

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