Financial Times seeking anti-Zoomers for feature

ended 08. March 2021

The Financial Times is writing an article on Zoom fatigue.

It's looking for views from business owners who are starting to push back on the over-use of Zoom and Teams, etc, in favour of other channels, e.g. the good old dog and bone. Or simple audio calls.

Do you have any views on this? If so, what are they? And if you're an ardent anti-Zoomer, would you be happy to feature in the FT?

7 responses from the Newspage community

Premium
flights of fantasy

Yes, some days seem to be Zoom/Teams/Jitsi-overload. But honestly it has been a lifeline for many. 

From my own point of view I have been able to attend some workshops I would not otherwise have travelled for (both UK based and abroad) and have 'attended' events (like the current Contemporary Art Fair) and some AGMs that I'd probably not have made the effort to go to in person.

But similarly, months of 'stay local' have encouraged friends, if not colleagues, to make more time to actually talk to each other rather than just emailing, with Whatsapp calling being a favourite as you can see each other while chatting.

I think online meetings are here to stay - they do make for a lot more contact and it seems just about everyone has got to grips with the technology!

Yes! I stepped back from zoom a long time ago and just dip in here and there. It's such a time vacuum and you don't get the same feeling of connection you do in real life. I'm sad because I've missed out on all my usual business networking catch ups but by the time I'd logged on to them my small window to get work done around kids and home life was gone. I'm all about email now, that I can do in my own time...even at 4am in the morning during night feeds with my 8 week old. 

Whilst Skype was our preferred solution for many years, new entrants such as Zoom and Teams have surpassed the user-friendly capabilities of Skype. We have certainly embraced video-calls to have meetings with our clients, at their request; and, for many, were a great alternative to business travel – in turn helping reduce their carbon footprint. However, recent research confirms that streaming video generates more in emissions than just using the good old telephone; so, with video calls quickly becoming the new normal, we may need to think again about how our business decisions impact the environment. 

On a personal note, I find it quite distracting seeing myself on-screen whilst talking to others. I’m not particularly self-conscious, but I now find myself constantly checking my hair, teeth and apparent double-chin. I’ve even noticed the bags under my eyes, and how they make me look very tired on camera. 

Premium
Teddo Play

I think we've all had enough embarrasment on Zoom & Teams with smalls running naked in the background, forgetting to mute or turn off video putting private life on display unknowingly, the internet is full of some of these hilariously embarrassing moments! 

People are more than ready to bring back the good old days of picking up the phone and getting the work done and say goodbye to the current trend of video meetings where there's unnecessary pressure on thinking what I should wear, how do I look, what's in the background, making sure children are not left with any of their noisy toys and finding content for yet another small talk around lockdowns, government and vaccines before anyone can come to the point to talk business! There's too much prep put in for something that could have taken just minutes of a quick chat over an audio call or a simple email! 

Happy to feature.

During lockdown Zoom and similar products have been essential for families to keep in contact and for businesses to maintain client contact. Many industires will benefit by maintaining this medium as the reduction in travel time and expense of salaries is great.

But not in our industry. As a specialist education company we provide both outdoor and classroom based courses. Our customers get a far better experience by being face to face with an experienced instructor. Somebody who can keep an eye on the room's progress and pull aside people when they struggle. This personal interaction is really important.

It would be a shame if the industry started to move towards Zoom meetings instead of real classes. I hope the pursuit of greater profits doesn't damage the quality.

As a career coach, I am now seeing quite a few therapists who are burned out from seeing clients via Zoom for a year now. Therapy is an intense job at the best of times, and the lack of real-life connection can make it even more draining. While they haven't been made redundant (in fact their work is in more demand than ever), they are considering a career change due to burn-out.  

I pivoted my own workplace workshops to Zoom when the pandemic hit, which worked well for a year, but I'm now hearing from employers who say their teams are feeling zoom fatigue and can we wait until we are back in the office? Another pivot for my business which I now need to work around!

I am also seeing a lot more people being firmer around turning off their cameras when on zoom. Sometimes, this is beacuse there is stuff going on in the backgroud, but people are also beoming happier and more confident around saying "I'm eating my lunch so i'm turning my camera off." Obviously, it's not ideal to be working over lunch, but in the workplaces and meetings that demand it, these boundaries can only be a good thing. 

We've spent years trying to move away from sending too many emails or reverting to the telephone and finally we're in a place where most of us are becoming a little more comfortable putting ourselves in front of the camera and then along comes virtual fatigue!

Zoom fatigue is real, here to stay and yet one more thing that we must quickly adapt to. We've gone from physically running from back to back meetings to clicking between them.

We have to become much more consciously aware of switching off our internal auto-pilot thinking and listening to the physiological signals that our body sends in its attempts to help us. We're all fighting for air at the minute and all bets are off. The human condition is to be strong and appear strong and this is being seen in our approach to remote working. 

Balance is what's needed. Those old-fashioned communication methods are still as solid and sturdy as they ever were, though just like we were all pinging each other when instant messaging came in, too much of one method gets old (and tiring), fast. If video conferencing is needed, there can even be opportunities when everyone goes off-camera to audio only.

Another element is challenge: how often do we challenge 1) why a meeting is needed or 2) why it needs to be an hour / 30 minutes. Yet we've all been there, thoughtfully nodding at minute 57 of the most boring meeting. Except we checked out long ago. If longer meetings are needed, inject them with frequent energy checks and state changers. Be the one who challenges from time to time and others may well take your lead. 

Other simple yet effective techniques can help to mix things up and and ease the fatigue. Stand up for some of your meetings...just make sure you're bottom-half ready as well as top-half ready. Carve out some time in between meetings. Keep it safe and treat it just as importantly as any of your other diary commitments. Take a brain-break by having a walking meeting in the fresh air, which can be a total mindset reset and be sure you're drinking enough water.

At CM Learning, we support clients with this as part of our approach to mindset, resilience and wellbeing development and we have also just this week published a video about virtual fatigue on YouTube - https://youtu.be/BmlpCQ3qWYg - and would love the opportunity to feature in the FT to help however we can.