When too many meetings turn remote work into a Nightmare?!

Back in March 2020 many governments decided to perform a “state lockdown” due to the 新冠肺炎大流行危机. Being in a high-travel role, this brought some sudden changes, 和 from one day to the other I was able to spend more time at home. However, as everyone else also was also not traveling anymore, a new normal has been established–lots of remote meetings. Does this sound familiar?

Fun fact, initially I even assumed my days would be less packed 和n got overwhelmed with the number of meetings requested to attend. Due to the Corona Virus, the daily routine of many people has changed completely. The adoption of collaboration tools such as 乐彩网 Teams, Slack or Zoom was taking up big times. Some would even say, the driver for the digital transformation is neither the CEO nor the CFO, it is 新冠肺炎

Driver of 数字化转型, CEO - CTO, 新冠肺炎
fufuy

您听说过Zoom Fatigue吗?

Do you experience it as well, being more exhausted at the end of the workday? You are not alone. Over the past few weeks, mentions of “Zoom fatigue” have popped up more 和 more on social media, 和 谷歌搜索 since March. And no, this is not a new marketing campaign from 乐彩网 Teams.

But talking about it, Office 365 has a very interesting dashboard called “MyAnalytics”. This allows you to analyze your 和 others behavior you interact with. Below you can find my snapshot for March-April vs. April-May:

我的Analytics 3月至4月统计
3-4月统计
我的Analytics 4月-5月统计信息
4-5月统计

You can see an increase of collaboration 和 decrease of focus time. Which is worst, as every meeting usually results in follow-up work. More meetings equal more work but on the contrary less available time to get it done.

This also clearly explains the other view, “quiet hours disruption”. When you are kept busy with meetings all day, the (real) work needs to get done during a later hour in the day.

我的Analytics数小时中断

While this view is only a snapshot of some aspects 和 does not take into consideration other meeting tools (WebEx, Zoom) you might have used, it is an interesting visualization 和 indication where you spend your time. Have you checked out your 我的Analytics Dashboard in Office 365?

有好的在线会议惯例吗?

Of course, attending an online meeting using video requires more focus than a face-to-face meeting, as we need to make more effort to process non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, sounds, voice 和 body language. And we are constantly deciding whether we should focus on the person’s face in the upper left corner of the screen, on the chat in the right window or on the message on the mobile phone in front of us on the table.

Of course, we use more energy 和 get exhausted easily. While this describes the situation around video calls, also regular online meetings can be as exhausting. There are plenty of websites sharing best practices how to be more efficient in meetings, or how you must structure your (home) office day. For me, the following was helping me to go through this phase positively:

  • 我开始只接受定期会议 暂定. This allows me at the beginning of every week to decide if I have capacity to attend this meeting or not. In case of a conflict, I will propose an alternative slot or decline the meeting.
  • At the same time, I also review my upcoming week-calendar to keep the 每周最多开会50次. Not every meeting requires my attendance 和 watch the recording or read the minutes is sometimes enough to get up to speed.
  • 为了更好地准备,我还 拒绝没有议程的会议 or clear goal setting. Unless it is for informal gatherings such as a “virtual coffee break”, or “virtual after work drink”; there the title speaks for itself.
  • 在那个音符上 计划休息. 我的 early mornings are blocked for focus work 和 catch-up with mails I received during the night. I also block some good amount of time for lunch, something around 60-90 minutes to catch some sun on the balcony, have time for a lovely meal 和 do some non-work-related activities. Latest hobby, playing table-tennis.
  • 定义工作时间, days can become very long when staying in the home-office. I start with answering my e-mails before 8am, 和 stop being responsive after 8pm. However, this does not mean I am available all day for calls/meetings. I did setup the 我的Analytics中的焦点时间 – a great feature to block “free” time for getting work done. This also controls it better when I must or can attend meetings.
  • Distraction seems to be a bigger topic for many. I would not say I am struggling with huge distraction in my home office. However, 多任务 i.e. with e-mails or instant messaging communication is still something I get often challenged. 为某些通话启用视频通话 helps me to stay focused, however this consumes more internet bandwidth (for both parties), is exhausting 和 should not be the solution – having less meetings overall will get me there though…

Two additional things to mention as part of my 新冠肺炎-meeting-survival-kit, tools which are important for me to get a day organized 和 energized:

  • 做运动! I start the day with some body weight training using “Runtastic Training” (since the gyms are still closed) or end the day with a run at the river. Doing some sort of sportive activity once a day is key for my mental health 和 helps me also to re-energize more quickly.
  • 我的 乐彩网 Outlook日历乐彩网待办事项应用程序 are planning my day. If it is not in either tool, it is almost not existing. I tried to use the 乐彩网 Planner, but found the simple task-list handier. But having an organized day is key for me to get things done. Also 托马斯·莫雷尔 最近写了关于组织工作时间的博客。

阅读其他一些好的做法 这里这里.

保持乐观

While the meeting sprawl can be difficult, it is also on every individual to set their own boundaries 和 make the best out of it. Being in week nine (9) of the lookdown of Switzerland, things have not been that negative for me!

I used the opportunity to set up my home office, got some desks which are adjustable in height, a set of 34” curved monitors 和 Surface accessories docking station, keyboard 和 mouse which makes the setup complete. This already changed to a total new 和 great experience for me, when moving from working at the dining table to a proper equipped home-office.

Yaasa adjustable desk, Sonos Move, 液晶电源34"curved Screen, Surface Laptop, HotelGyms.com Poster

一些使我与众不同的事情:

  • 可调式Yaasa台灯;
  • 液晶电源“LC-M34-UWQHD-100-C” 34″ curved monitor;
  • Logitech C930e网络摄像头;
  • The Surface accessories, such as the“Surface Dock”, Surface Keyboard 和 Surface Mobile Mouse;
  • Having a“Sonos Move”is definitely a nice add-on too.

The next gadget to my office most likely will be a busy light from www.plenom.com.

While 新冠肺炎 is a very difficult 和 challenging time for everyone, it is also an opportunity to get things done differently 和 maybe better. Or to find time doing something else, like some workouts during the morning to get the energy needed for the series of meetings/calls. And as soon as the boarders are open again, 和 things go back to normal maybe traveling will be fun again. You might want to check www.hotelgyms.com 同时。

Start dreaming, if you don’t dream you won’t get anywhere!
#NeverSkipAWorkout

还有一件事...

Having some virtual coffee breaks, or virtual after-work drinks have been very entertaining 和 good fun. But due to the number of meetings I have every day, I would keep them to one vent every week.

You might want to give your video calls a makeover, with this selection of over 100 empty sets from the 英国广播公司档案,或者更喜欢一些虚拟的 星球大战, 奇迹 甚至 宜家 背景图片?检查一下 汤姆斯指南 更多的想法。

“I’m not sure I followed you” which might as well mean: “I was shampooing my cat 和 didn’t realize I would be called on.”

I just loved that quote. How often did you hear this? Or how often did this happen to yourself? Well, a better excuse would be something along those lines:“Sorry, you broke-up 和 we couldn’t hear you anymore. Could you please repeat?

However, maybe we need to get better with our meeting etiquette 和 improve the meeting practices? Another interesting guide about meeting practices has been published by HBR: How to Get People to Actually Participate in Virtual Meetings。我个人最喜欢§4, MVP规则.

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