3 Ways Zoom is Killing Your Team (And How You Can Fix It!)
When the pandemic emptied offices in March, most businesses turned to Zoom (or BlueJeans, Google Meet, etc.) as a way to keep their teams digitally connected as they physically scattered. For the first few days and weeks, employees appreciated the novel, new way they could engage with and see their colleagues and friends around the world. Zoom happy hours were born. Grandparents learned how to Zoom so they could join us. Middle schoolers, high schoolers, elementary kids, college seniors all joined in.
Then it happened. Zoom ate the work day. Zoom meetings started filling up calendars and employees were left exhausted.
Too much Zoom taxes the brain, leading to fatigue
Think about the last time you were on a Zoom call but were disengaged or multitasking. How did you try and show that you were still involved in the conversation? You most likely tried to look into the camera to prove that you were paying attention.
This uncomfortable (and unnatural!) behavior is one of the reason Zoom meetings can leave us fatigued. In the beforetimes, there was no issue with looking down at your notes, glancing out of the window, or getting up to grab a glass of water. But Zoom meetings require us to be still and stare straight ahead.
Video conferencing promises collaboration, but falls short
In theory, Zoom meetings should be the most collaborative sessions imaginable. You can bring in all of your stakeholders into one virtual place and mindmeld. But in reality the human brain can only handle one person talking at a time, and on Zoom it’s hard to easily shift between speakers.
Have you had this scenario play out:
New speaker 1: “I think — ”
New speaker 2: “Oh I’m sorry, were you going to say something?”
New speaker 1: “Sorry, no, you go”
New speaker 2: “No it’s okay, sorry. Go ahead.”
This frustratingly familiar scenario makes other people not want to engage or to wait for a longer pause before they speak up and results in a meeting that’s lost its rhythm.
Overreliance on Zoom is lazy… and your team knows it
Most of us have been there. The boss has questions or is putting together a presentation and instead of making a thoughtful, organized request for information, they throw a Zoom invite on the calendar to “get everyone together.” This was inconsiderate when employees were in the office from nine to five, but now it is downright intolerable as employees have to care for family members throughout the day or negotiate with a spouse over who gets to use which make-shift office space.
How you can use Zoom better (Hint: Use it less!)
Cut down on the number of Zoom meetings you have on the books. A Zoom diet is a great way to give time back to your employees.
Use a smart project management tool to manage requests for your team. Tools like Monday can help you organize what you need from your team members. Or invest in a knowledge management system like Guru to ensure institutional knowledge is available on-demand.
Use Google Docs to create collaborative agendas for each meeting. If a meeting doesn’t have a full agenda, cancel it.
Consider replacing certain meetings — such as training sessions — with on-demand videos or podcasts. Podable allows you to create podcasts that are accessible only to your employees. You decide who has access and you can add or remove people at any time. You can even track their engagement over time to make sure you are creating content that is actually working.
Think about collaborative online whiteboarding tools like Miro for times when you want to sketch out ideas with others. Talking heads on Zoom don’t always facilitate brainstorming and interaction, but graphical tools can help for certain teams.