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It Could’ve Been an Email: the Annoying Desire to Have Video Calls for Everything

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It Could’ve Been an Email: the Annoying Desire to Have Video Calls for Everything

​Meetings can be great, they’re necessary for many things, whether it’s just to discuss upcoming projects or raise urgent concerns. We need meetings so we can work and get things done!​ I’m sure you’ve attended meetings that made you feel motivated or inspired but I also know you’ve been in some that made you feel the opposite. Or rather, meetings that made you question if they could’ve been done in an email instead.

Working remotely is already challenging enough. Adjusting to the new normal of work means developing new work habits separate from what we were used to when we were still working in the office and at the same time incorporating some old work habits to the way we work now. It isn’t easy at all. There are things we used to do that are basically the same, but work in different ways--meetings are one of them.

This could’ve been an email

Even when we were still working in an office, there were meetings that were definitely time-consuming and counterproductive--meetings in which questions could have been answered in a simple email thread instead.

In the context of a remote work setup, meetings mean video calls, whether on Zoom, Google Meet or any other video conferencing app. And there’s no denying that even if video calls don’t require the same effort as in-person meetings do in the sense of preparing meeting rooms, tools, and other presentations, they still take up our time and we still need to properly prepare for them.

When we say “this could’ve been an email,” we mean that we could’ve used our time more efficiently instead of being stuck in a counterproductive meeting. There are instances that meetings can stray from their original agenda, prolonging them without reason and giving us a hard time to continue doing our tasks.

It can definitely be frustrating when people seem to opt to have video calls for everything. With most of us still having a hard time grasping the changes coming alongside distance work, having to be present through virtual meetings, even for the most routine issues, can definitely cause fatigue and anxiety.

Virtual meeting fatigue

In-person or not, being in meetings all day can definitely drain us. In this era of homebased work, there is now a so-called virtual meeting fatigue which refers to what we feel from being subjected to virtual meetings continuously throughout the day. It’s very real and its effects are not something to take lightly. Some studies even show that virtual meetings can be more tiring than face-to-face ones. Since virtual meetings happen through a screen, we can sometimes miss non-verbal cues and we may feel that we need to put more effort in appearing interested, focusing on what is being said, all while sustaining eye contact. And when we have to go through such meetings all day, it’s obvious how it can affect our productivity levels and our overall outlook toward work that has to be done.

Virtual meetings are of course necessary to any organization utilizing a work from home arrangement but of course, limits should be set--knowing when it’s needed and when it can be done in an email instead.

To meet or to email

In order to maintain an efficient schedule when you’re working remotely and when you’re planning to set up some meetings, it’s important to ask yourself if a virtual meeting is the best way to get or relay information. If there are other ways, such as an email or a phone call, then that would definitely save you a lot of time. Also, even if you’re not the one setting up the meeting, it’s good to know to raise this with your co-workers.

Another thing to take note of is the goal of any meeting. Even before it begins, while it is being planned, it should be clear what everyone involved in the meeting should get out of it. If a meeting is only being held just for the sake of it, especially if it’s a virtual one, then it’s safe to say it won’t really contribute much to the process flow of an organization.

For work to be more fulfilling, especially right now that we are working remotely, we should find ways to strengthen work relationships in order to fuel meaningful collaboration. Whether it’s a meeting or just an email, let’s make sure it’s worth our time and effort! 

Half the Sky's mission is to supply the tools that can give every woman the ability to build a successful career and be fully prepared for the future of work. So, that they can lead a healthy, prosperous and more balanced/blended lifestyle of their choosing.  By building your confidence, you’re setting foundations to empower yourself and your career.  The world is your oyster, and it starts with you. 

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