How is this new Zoom generation getting on? I’ve read recently about Zoom fatigue and my favourite distinction made was that in the real outside world when we see our bosses it’s typically in the office or the usual coffee shop. When we see our friends and family they’re in homes, pubs and other places away from the office. What Zoom has done has bring all of these things together.
Admittedly, my own webcam story relates to GoToWebinar and having interviews. I’ve read the guidance on home working, and being no stranger to working from home or out and about. I am very aware that dressing for the occasion is very much a thing.
The problem I have is that with only one shirt and one neck tie with me during this quarantine it all feels a little disingenuous to whack it on at times where the meeting is important but I also know who I’m talking to. I chuckled the other day when the news had to make excessive mention that MPs sitting digitally in Westminster would still need to abide by etiquette rules as if they were in the Chamber. I’d challenge anyone who may end up on national TV to do so, let alone your local MP. Even the people being interviewed on Good Morning Britain are making an effort.
But what then if at the last minute you’re left scrambling for your phone as due to technical difficulties the webcam functionality isn’t working on the other side? This has happened twice to me.
It really throws me off. I have my set up ready to go. I’m in my shirt and tie, got my water, devices plugged in or switched off depending on what I need and then Bam! I need to reassess what I’m doing! I’m now going to be late – oh great, now my confirmatory email that I’m dialling in won’t send as the internet has decided to die – so my camera wouldn’t have worked any now – and worst of all, they now won’t even see that I’ve made an effort!
But would I have made the effort if I already knew it was a telephone call? Yes; more than likely. I like getting up and getting dressed. I never used to. But I’ve never had so much riding on the efforts of myself before. I’m trying to build and create a future for myself in the midst of a global pandemic and while undergoing meetings at my own workplace which essentially have a pre-determined outcome. It’s hard work.
I don’t want to be in my sleeping clothes all day doing the things that I usually do in my awake clothes. I need to feel like I’m being active and moving around. That I’m working toward goals and presenting my future in a way that resonates with me now. I can’t wait for something to happen. I need to create them now, even when it feels uncomfortable and unnatural at the minute.
Do they changes in the circumstances get to me. Yes, in that moment. But can we all transition out of one moment and into another by quickly adjusting. Yes. But it takes practice to wash off the scenario you were just in and the new one you find yourself in.
Carry on dressing for the occasion if the occasion calls for it and even if the technology lets you down. We work to our own standards, don’t lower them for anyone else.