Zooming and Teaming; a Virtual Dysfunction?

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Zooming and Teaming; a Virtual Dysfunction?

20th October 20

At some point or other during the covid crisis almost everyone will have considered the idea of the “new normal”.  But that implies there was a previously standardised norm against which this new mode of operating can be compared.  It has been generally accepted that this was a work culture in which home, family and personal life were often casualties, in the pursuit of material or career success (whatever one deems that to be).  There is a commonly held idea that the pandemic has caused everyone to reconsider their values, their priorities and their life work balance.  I argue, perhaps rather controversially, and based on nothing more than my observations and personal experience, that the “new normal” is beginning to look remarkably like the old.

At the beginning of lockdown, the dramatic reduction in vehicle emissions had a positive and much appreciated effect on the environment.  The additional time gained by those who were no longer commuting added value to life.  The convenience of working from home enabled quality time with family for many.  Isolation provided the opportunity for introspection and contemplation.  Yet none of these “benefits” of themselves have been sufficient to establish the gargantuan shift required for a “new normal” to become embedded within the working cultural psyche.

Instead, what we have seen over the course of the pandemic is a huge rise in virtual communication and there is an environmental impact of virtual traffic that is, in the main, conveniently ignored.  Any time gained due to the absence of commuting  is increasingly being taken up with virtual meetings that occur with alarming frequency and which were previously geographically and logistically prohibitive.  This in turn leads to virtual contact across distance and time zones and this virtual contact inevitably encroaches upon quality time with family or self.  So much so that we now see the term “zoom fatigue” coined and in regular circulation.  The boundary between work and non work is gradually being eroded.  And all of this evidences that without a fundamental shift, the “onwards and upwards” culture will eventually triumph: remodelled; reframed but ever present.  Time for contemplation and introspection is an increasingly elusive luxury and I wonder if we are not all now in need of a digital detox...

Zoom fatigue

The cure