If you are experiencing an unprecedented avalanche of virtual meetings during these COVID times, rest assured, you are not alone. Are these video huddles more numerous than the in-person meetings you had previously? It is certainly the case for us and other professionals we know.
I used to go several days without an in-person meeting, and now I have multiple video meetings daily. The pandemic clearly has people craving additional human connection. And to an extent, this storm of meetings could be a vehicle for ensuring employees who are normally in the office are truly on the job. It’s also an attempt to replicate the face time we have just from buzzing around the workplace with others and those water cooler/coffee maker conversations.
Not only do we have the challenge of Zoom fatigue, but we also have to contend with less productivity and added hours to the work day due to this barrage of meetings. And then there are those unscheduled virtual meetings with a moment’s notice! Granted, I am not anti-meeting, but I am pro-productive meetings.
Redhead Marketing’s team has always maintained home offices, but work from home life sure feels different during Covidian times. More emails, texts, and phone calls occur outside of traditional business hours, making people feel like they can’t escape their work. It is difficult for many of us to shut off our devices, and our work ethic compels us to respond immediately. It takes great discipline to allow it to wait for tomorrow morning. This adversely impacts work-life balance, especially when home is the new workplace. While many find themselves without physical separation between work and home, there is no mental separation either. This can lead to added stress, anxiety, depression, and that feeling of total burn out.
My advice is to respect the time of your employees, colleagues, and clients by reducing unnecessary meetings and after hours communications. I’m guilty of sending emails at 11 p.m. just to clear my plate. If your meeting agenda can easily be accomplished via email, give yourself and others a break from being on video. It will free up time to do “actual work.” Excessive virtual meetings can easily interrupt workflow just when you find your groove writing a press release or creating a social media post. Frivolous meetings lead to longer hours than ever before. There are already enough obstacles and interruptions when working from home, so let’s consider transforming the avalanche of meetings to a mere flurry. Take it from someone who has a PhD in working from home.