Good video used to be the gold standard unicorn of meetings; the big conference room set-ups with gigantic screens, microphones down the table, and 360 cameras were fancy and expensive and out of reach for most small businesses. I remember being enamored of actually seeing people in meetings. When you have worldwide clients, it made it lovely to be able to feel like they were in the same room; let alone that sometimes, it was the only way we’d get to meet them.
300FeetOut also had multiple offices so internally, it was a nice way to see our entire team at once. It personalized long-distance communication and was a way to keep track of new hairstyles, changes to people’s offices, and just seeing smiles. But the world changed and what was a ‘3x times a week’ occurrence has now turned into 6 hours of calls a day.
So what happened? Lock-down. When we weren’t able to go to the office, the store, or out to eat we missed seeing each other. And the easiest fallback to replace those strangers? Using the people at work because it wasn’t always successful to arrange family and friend time. We had zoom happy hours, forced cooking lessons (we loved that), ice cream parties, and ‘working sessions’ just to feel that human connection. We loved seeing the insight into people’s lives: the babies, the dogs, or the artfully chosen backgrounds. We became more honest with each other and dropped the ‘always on professional’ facade.
But what should have been reserved for important decisions and screen sharing moments, insidiously replaced all phone calls. Meetings are now at your desk, with your camera on. If you’re a lucky person, maybe in your backyard or on a deck. Maybe some employers wanted to see their employees working, getting dressed professionally, and butts in seats. We do know that there was a lot more surveillance being reported from keylogging to always-on video cameras for the newly work-from-home staff. No physical phones meant we were taking calls on our computers, which further streamlined contact methods so that a walk and talk became a thing of the 00’s.
We became so accustomed to video calls that they no longer required a second thought. That led to an onslaught of bloopers of men in button-down shirts and ties wearing boxer briefs, people leaving their microphones on while doing ‘eh-hem’ personal grooming, or screen sharing accidentally porn tabs. The phones stopped ringing and the voice mails disappeared. So how did this impact us?
Next up Part 2…