Videoconferencing: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Videoconferencing: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Video conferencing and virtual meetings have always been part of remote work. However, in the past year and a half, most people were new to the constant stream of virtual meetings.

Zoom became a household name for most people in 2020 and by June 2020, Zoom was in more than 100,000 schools in the United States. People all over the world were Zooming with coworkers, friends, and family. Google’s Meet saw a surge of users and so did Microsoft Teams. Many companies are planning on incorporating remote work into their plans permanently.

Since good communication is key to successful remote work, high-quality communication like video conferencing is useful for complicated discussions or important meetings. With video conferencing for virtual meetings, remote workers can stay connected. Since the rapid shift to remote work in 2020, workplaces everywhere have changed dramatically and video conferencing is a big part of how we work today.  A good understanding of video conferencing is key to using it for high-quality communication and avoiding burnout.

The good

Video conferencing (when done right) is a helpful tool because it’s a high-quality communication method. By replicating face-to-face interactions, video conferencing helps ensure everyone is on the same page.

With remote workers in different places, it’s critical to make sure that details don’t get missed. High-quality communication like video conferencing helps workers avoid misunderstandings and confusion.

If you and your team are starting a new project, a virtual meeting ensures everyone is on the same page without clogging up your inbox. Video conferencing lets team members ask follow-up questions during in-depth conversations. In addition, video conferencing helps you create a similar dynamic to in-person meetings. With remote work, virtual meetings help new team members get to know their coworkers. Video conferencing also keeps all team members involved and included, no matter where they are.

The bad

Unfortunately, because video conferencing is good at recreating in-person interactions, virtual meetings are overused, which can hurt your productivity. “This meeting could have been an email” is a joke that (sadly) resonates for too many people.

If your team doesn’t know when video conferencing is appropriate, you might find yourself sitting in unnecessary meetings for hours. That wastes your time, your team’s time, and takes everyone’s focus away from what matters.

Your team should find a meeting rhythm that works for you and the information that needs to be communicated. Emails or chats work better for quick updates or simple questions. That way, your team isn't pulled away from their work for a virtual meeting.

Information should be organized and accessible to everyone, so everyone is on the same page. While video conferencing is helpful, it should only be one tool in your toolbox. Just because your team can have a video conference; doesn’t mean they should.

The ugly

Relying on too much video conferencing can contribute to mental health problems like stress, fatigue, burnout, and exhaustion. Zoom fatigue became a familiar problem in early 2020 when most people switched to virtual meetings for the first time.

Video conferencing increases your mental load since our brains are wired for in-person interactions. Nonverbal cues are often more overwhelming, since virtual meetings are spent staring at other people on-screen. Virtual meetings, while helpful, force your brain into overdrive.

The visual aspect of video conferencing makes it easier for you to simulate a face-to-face meeting but virtual meetings are difficult to keep on track. This can leave you feeling exhausted after only a few meetings. Even though it's a useful tool, video conferencing can be dangerous since too much can cause burnout, stress, and exhaustion.

The solution

Communication that is asynchronous by default and synchronous when needed is a better approach to video conferences. Asynchronous communication, like an email, doesn’t need instant feedback and is useful for straightforward updates.

Synchronous communication, like virtual meetings, should be mostly limited to urgent work and nuanced discussions with your team members. Using both asynchronous and synchronous communication, as they’re needed, is an easy way to avoid wasting your team’s time or getting burnt out.

Rock uses both asynchronous and synchronous communication methods so you can spend time on what matters. Rock recognizes the value of video conferencing in today’s workplaces (wherever your workplace is) which is why Zoom and Jitsi are integrated in every space.

You and your team can save virtual meetings for when they’re really needed and use tasks, notes, or messages in the meantime. But when you need video conferencing, Rock makes it easy to jump on a call to answer a complicated question. You won’t need to dig through your inbox to find the link to start a team meeting for brainstorming.

Because Rock is cross-organizational, you can add any client or team members to a space to keep everyone in the loop. With easily accessible and organized information, you can cut down on the number of meetings that are needed to touch base with clients and partners.

Your clients can check out task boards to see how progress is going. External partners can share key information in notes or Google Drive. Rock is just as open as email but it helps you stay more organized than simple email folders. The platform is free to use—unlimited spaces, messages, and tasks for you, your team, and your external partners.

By using an asynchronous-default approach to communication, Rock helps you keep clients and freelancers in the loop while cutting down on unnecessary meetings. You’ll be able to video-conference when you need to and get more done in the meantime.