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Inside The Office Leadership Management

Remote Work Meetings: All Zoomed Out and No Place to Go

So much of our work lives take place on Zoom these days. When should you take a break from video calls and pick up the phone?

It’s safe to say that the tedium of remote work has gotten to many of us. Sometime after your fourth video conference of the day and right before you tell your kids, mate, dog, rabbit or pterodactyl it’s safe to speak again, you wonder, “Is all this video chatting worth it?”

In a word, yes. That doesn’t mean all conferences need to be video conferences.

Sophaya’s remote work tip of the day

Nothing can replace the connection between people meeting in person, but video will do in a pinch. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in a pinch. That said, the sheer number of video conferences leaves some of us feeling overexposed.

The internet is rife with articles about Zoom fatigue. That makes sense. Some people are zooming from one video conference to the next like a chain smoker with a new pack of Pall Malls. Perhaps now that just about everyone is a remote employee, we can differentiate between meetings we should do as video conferences and those we can just as easily do on the phone.

Video meetings are best for

  • Dealing with a troubled or low producing employee

Heartfelt discussions or negative feedback sessions are easier to conduct in person. Failing that, video works best. Sometimes you need to see a person’s face to determine whether they’re struggling, exhausted, stuck, or just being evasive.

  • Explaining a new project

Not only is seeing your face valuable but seeing your screen can be too. This is especially true if you’re or a team member is a visual learner.

  • Performing an employee review

It’s easier to understand nuances of meaning when you’re looking at someone. It’s also easier to tell when someone is joking.

  • Building morale

Of course. When your team members are comparing coffee mugs or fuzzy slippers, only video will do.

  • Congratulating your team on a big win

You and your team have worked a long time on this project and the customer loves it! What better way is there to give your crew the good news? Call out the team members by name, telling the whole group what they did and read them the client comments. During a tough time, it’s nice to get compliments.

As the old Bell Telephone slogan once said, “Long distance Video conferencing, it’s the next best thing to being there.”

All right, we paraphrased that just a touch.

Phone calls will do when

  • Reviewing a small detail someone is stuck on

Rather than texting back and forth, get on a quick call and iron out the issue.

  • Asking a simple question
  • Scheduling a small meeting

“Wednesday at 10 works for me.”
“Perfect. A half hour will do.”
“Great. I’ll send you an invite.”

  • Requesting or approving a personal day or vacation

Sure, you could email, but it’s pleasant to have a personal conversation about a personal matter. You can still fill out the appropriate forms later, but it’s nice to clear these things in advance.

Working from home can be rewarding and complex. Video conferencing is a fantastic tool that helps employees, teams, and businesses prosper when team members are apart. Just remember, the phone works too.

To learn more about managing a remote workforce, check out The Remote Nation Institute.

About the author

Mari Anne Snow

Mari Anne Snow is a business expert, specializing in the design and implementation of remote work, dispersed or virtual team programs, and custom people-to-people skills training for remote leaders. She is a versatile, energetic and highly experienced business executive with the capacity to quickly assess any situation, diagnose immediate and long term needs, and provide practical leadership and immediate, measurable results.

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