VIDEO CALLS: YAY OR NAY?

It’s been over a year of working from home, wearing masks, and upping our loungewear game. So much time for a new normal to set in and make it hard to remember what life was like pre the ‘vid. Things that now seem so strange and truly horrible. Like having to appear at the office in person every single day of the week … the mental energy alone to plan actual outfits that don’t involve stretchy waistbands is exhausting. Who has the time now? Honestly, if I appear somewhere in jeans and t-shirt today it’s a win. And that’s only a very small margin of victory over a hoodie and sweats.

Then there’s the whole fashion industry of masks. I’m going to come out and say it – I don’t hate wearing the mask. It’s not always ideal. For example, if you ate something delicious that didn’t agree with your breath and is making you an actual dragon you have to suffer with that for the entire length of the mask experience. On the flip side, though, what if something gets stuck in your teeth? No one, but you, will know. You don’t ever have to smile in pictures. Because no one can tell. You also don’t ever have to smile at strangers after making awkward eye contact with them. You can mutter sweet, angry, nothings to the person who thought they could cut in line. There are pros for sure.

There are also cons – have you ever been to the gym and been required to wear a mask to workout in? Why make that process more horrible than it already is? I struggle enough to breathe sans mask during an exercise routine, so there is no way that adding in a breathing inhibitor is going to enhance my fun. The ability to get fresh air is basically impossible. I would rather lay on the pavement during the height of summer than continue that requirement. On that note, if you need the mask for more than about 30 minutes at any given time, it may be best to rethink where you’re going. Flights, doctor’s visits, the DMV … maybe not the best time for those.

Mask assessment aside, any professional, student, or job candidate is probably way too familiar with video meetings. The conference room. The Zoom link. The Microsoft Teams setup. A Webex interface. Hanging out on Google. Whichever platform you prefer, or your company dictates that you will prefer, video calls are deeply ingrained in our work culture now. In person meetings feel like an outlier. Why meet face to face when you can only put clothes on one half of your body and have HULU up on the second monitor?

Some of us are all about virtual meeting culture. Some of us go back and forth depending on the day. And some of us would be happy if virtual meetings died with COVID. Where do you fall on the love / hate spectrum? Yay or nay? I would like to play devil’s advocate and argue for both sides of the equation. Then you, as the reader, are free to decide. You may have your own opinions already. You may be set in stone one direction or the other. But, regardless, I would like to hash out my current dilemma between yes or let it burn so you’re welcome.

YAY / IN-PERSON IS OVERRATEDNAY / LET IT BURN
1. Pants are optional1. Work / life balance is questionable
2. Virtual backgrounds2.   Need to hide your actual background
3. Camera on is optional … sometimes3.   Camera on is required … sometimes
4. Multi-task like a pro4.   Easier to miss important information
5. No commute time to a meeting room5.   No time to debrief between meetings
6.   Screen sharing and collaboration6. Less interaction
7.   Give presentations and not be the center of attention7. When giving presentations there are so many awkward silences
8.   Work from anywhere8. Sense of disconnection from team
9.   Eat at anytime regardless of if you’re actually hungry9. Eat at anytime and not when you’re actually hungry
10. Your cup could have anything in it10. Less attentiveness as the day goes on

And there we have it. The top 10 things that came to mind for both the yay and nay side. In retrospect, and after re-reading both columns of the table, I think I’m torn on which is more ideal. As much as I love connecting with my coworkers, though, my heart loves the in-person is overrated side of this table. It gives me the freedom to travel and work from anywhere in the world. It minimizes my need for a diverse wardrobe. I have freedom to be creative in what professional background I will have each day. My stage fright has disappeared. And my stomach / liver have never been more well-fed. Yay for video calls!

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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