Zoom Meetings: Yay! or Nay?

Video conference by laptop. On the laptop screen, colleagues who gathered in a video conference to work on-line. The laptop is on the work desk at home

Zoom meetings may not be a very popular topic right now, even though they’re everywhere. In fact, Zoom may be unpopular precisely because it’s everywhere. Like their in-person counterparts, Zoom meetings have the potential to turn into time-wasters and morale-busters. If you’re a milspouse entrepreneur or remote-working professional, managing a team from home can be a challenge. Here are some considerations when you need to communicate with the group and you find yourself wondering, “To Zoom or not to Zoom?”

Video conference by laptop. On the laptop screen, colleagues who gathered in a video conference to work on-line. The laptop is on the work desk at home

First Thing’s First: Let People Know When You’re Planning on a Video Chat

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Let’s suppose you’ve already decided you’re doing a Zoom meeting. Help your team practice good expectation management. If you’re going to enable video in your chat, please let people know ahead of time.

When everyone is working from home, looking presentable can be a challenge. People who face additional societal scrutiny for their appearance can also feel additional pressure surrounding video chat. Furthermore, you want to avoid making people feel like you’re pressuring them to let you into their personal living space.

Letting your team know ahead of time that you will have video chat enabled can help set expectations – and so can letting them know when you will have it disabled. A disabled video chat from a team or business leader can signal to everyone else that it’s okay to be private or have a rough day.

Zoom Meetings Aren’t the Only Option. Consider the Alternatives

“Couldn’t that have just been an email?”

This common post-meeting refrain rings true in the era of remote work. Just as not everything needs to be a meeting, not everything needs to be a Zoom call. Of course, a lack of face-to-face, in-person interaction is disruptive and frustrating. At the same time, there are other alternatives that you can substitute for a real-time video chat or conference call.

  • Voice Messages

Facebook Messenger and other text apps allow users to leave high-quality voice messages. Leave them at your convenience, and the recipient can listen on their own time. Obviously, this method isn’t ideal for urgent issues, but it can be an effective way to convey nuance and provide a personal touch for lengthier pieces of information.

  • Marco Polo

This messaging app works a lot like the voice messages described above. Take a video on your own time. Send it in the app. The recipient opens and watches when they get a spare moment.

Once again, this one isn’t for pressing deadlines, but it is a good way to have face-to-face interaction. Additionally, both voice messages and Marco Polo videos can be a workaround for time differences. Rather than have one team member get up at 4am Pacific time for an 9am EST Zoom call, everyone can communicate at their convenience.

  • Traditional Phone Calls or Emails

Traditional phone calls still work. Fast, varied communications platforms may have given the idea that we need to schedule every phone conversation in advance, simply because we can.

Pick Up the Phone

Here’s Person A sends a text, “Talk soon?” Person B responds, “Sure! When’s good for you?” “Tomorrow at 2pm?” responds Person A. In the time it takes to arrange this phone conversation, person A could have simply called Person B. If Person B is unavailable, they let the call go to voicemail, or they can text back, “Talk tomorrow at 2pm?”

Send an Email

Some things are easier or preferable to discuss in person, over the phone, or in Zoom meetings. On the other hand, you can still handle some things over email. Especially if you have one or more team members who work in a different time zone, they might appreciate a simple email exchange.

A clogged inbox is a pain, but so is getting up and presentable early in the morning, or having a Zoom meeting during dinner time.

  • Collaboration Tools

Online collaboration tools like Airtable, Slack, Basecamp, and Google Drive can facilitate remote teamwork. Research different collaboration software that might work for you and your employees or team.

It All Comes Down to Taking Care of Your People

Ultimately, if you’ve got a remote team, just as with a team working together in-person, you need to demonstrate you care. That means managing their time wisely, and showing consideration for their circumstances.

Not everyone’s personal or living situation lends itself to Zoom meetings. You can indicate your sensitivity to this reality by occasionally switching it up with a phone call, email, or voice message.


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