Zoomed Out! A trending term that captures the impact of constant virtual connection in today’s working world. Many leaders and team members today are suffering a form of burn out from being constantly connected, as we replace social contact with meeting virtually.
Here we aim to explain what is really happening and why leaders must seek to address an emerging risk to corporate culture, performance, and well-being.
A New Wired World
Let us begin with the obvious. The new COVID-19 era has changed the world of work and how we work. Our people are expected to work from home. To meet and communicate via virtual meeting software, whether that be Zoom or Microsoft Teams or others. (For the purposes of this article we are terming the act of virtual video meeting as Zoom contact)
As we enter a completely new paradigm of expectation, we see more and more employees having constant Zoom contact. To compensate for the lack of in-person contact – many executives find themselves in multiple virtual meetings that can feel like a never-ending game of pressure, accountability, and performance. And whilst there are undoubtedly benefits and space for such platforms, they are now exposing a new human connection gap that has started to equally create new human challenges.
We already understand that the excessive use of the smartphone, social media in fact all elements of the digital eco-system interfere in our abilities to focus. A recent study found that just the presence of a deactivated digital device, e.g. a phone turned off nearby; will distract us from giving all our focus to any task. This points to both habits, addictive elements of digital and unconscious brain patterns we are all susceptible to.
If we then add the management and communication paradigm within organisations working from video meetings, we open ourselves up to new risks. Adam Gazzaley author of the book “The Distracted Mind” explains that Video Meetings/Communication require us to expend more energy when sharing our ideas or engaging with colleagues. The nature of screen to screen contact in the communication space requires a more animated version of you to get through the ‘black hole’ effect a camera can have – (Think of media communication or how tv presenters have to really EMPHASISE everything)
This new requirement means we emphasise more, spend greater levels of energy to be persuasive and to get our point across against the backdrop of digital distortion of the natural communication laws. Whilst this science is still be explored it points to significant shifts in the new workspace and its impacts on our performance.
Micro-Management via Zoom
“Every minute in my diary seems to get a Zoom meeting dropped into it!” is a popular complaint we are hearing from both leaders and executives. Understandably organisations are under business pressure to deliver in a new environment and the natural default is to push harder. Manage more. measure more and meet more.
However initial evidence suggests this knee-jerk reaction is creating a significant impact on both employee well-being and consequent productivity. A leaked internal staff survey in a large public sector organisation demonstrated that staff were feeling impacted beyond the office day and felt they had to be available every minute of the day leading to focus fatigue and even mental health concerns.
Based on the relentless digital exposure we can see there is a clear impact on organisational culture, performance, and staff wellbeing. All of which must be proactively monitored and managed if we are to maintain productive and functional teams
How to Manage Virtual Meetings Effectively
How we choose to lead, manage, motivate, and influence our workforce has therefore never been more pertinent. And to support our clients we are currently delivering a flagship VCL- Programme (Virtual Communication Leadership).
Our cutting-edge revolutionary method developed alongside several leading Universities and the Telecoms sectors enable leaders to manage effectively, drive a new communication culture which is optimising performance and connection despite an increasingly challenging digital backdrop.
If you would like an Overview of our Virtual Communication Toolkit “Steps to Happy Zooming!” Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject Line: Happy Zoom Report