Tired of endless virtual meetings? Losing motivation working from home?
Even though, as I write, restrictions are easing, we continue to spend a considerable amount of time working from home, and there is I think an anticipation that this will play a significant part in our working lives for the foreseeable future. Working from home has its challenges: many of the people I am talking to are complaining of the boredom and fatigue they are experiencing shut up between four walls, attending meeting after meeting on Zoom or suchlike, and working long hours without a break.
I think to make these working from home days more productive and less fatiguing we have to turn our attention to the nature of virtual meetings. Meetings in any environment can feel longwinded and unproductive, but in the virtual environment this is magnified. Even a well-planned virtual meeting still has significant challenges: this environment lacks the energy of human face to face contact, the nuances of engagement are missing, the flow of conversation is stilted. Voices in this environment tend to flatten and become monotonous and lack-lustre; often people speak more rapidly, perhaps trying to get it over with! Worse still, in virtual presentations, there is a tendency for many to drag their colleagues through a cumbersome deck of text-heavy slides, perhaps assuming that since this event is focused around a screen it warrants sharing the written word? This is unengaging, ineffective and utterly fatiguing. The overall outcome of the meeting is an energy sapping, unproductive, lengthier than necessary, demotivating burden in the day and if you have several of these back-to-back…?
It is critical that virtual meetings are productive, engaging, and motivating. Taking time to plan, specifically for this environment, is essential. Virtual meeting leaders and presenters need to adapt as well in order to maintain the energy and focus, and guide the meeting to a desired outcome, on time! Even so it is important not to schedule meetings back-to-back if at all possible: however well run and productive, this environment will still be fatiguing. If you want to give your team or your clients your best self you need to consider this.
I have posted a series of articles on this site and on LinkedIn looking at how to make your virtual meetings effective.