Earlier in the month several articles started popping up talking about people suffering from Quarantine fatigue, after a considerable amount of time asked to #StayAtHome. With Memorial Day just around the corner, these theories will certainly be put to the test, as the Greater NYC metro area is still shy of hitting all the NY Forward re-opening metrics. I had firsthand experience with this last weekend, with the weather obliging many more cars and walkers were visible. A week later and the metrics continuing to improve should only add to that. My hopes is that it is a moderated and safe break from quarantine.
I mainly bring this up because the fatigue appears to be setting into the schedule of virtual networking events. Have we hit a Zoom Wall? Part of it, I suspect, is resources being shifted to opening business back up. At the same time, I have noticed a drop off in
- attendance at events
- participation within events
- availability of events
Are we saving our energy to dust off professional attire and finding alternates to public transportation. Or has the novelty of video conferencing genuinely worn off and it needs to go back on the shelf, behind a glass pane “Break in case of emergency”?
Virtual Experience Improvements IRL
My perspective continues to be that the quality of these meetings needs to improve. “Yes”, the tools are freely available. “Yes”, everyone has a different schedule. And “Yes,” everyone has their own domestic situation. However, whether you are a team manager running regular status meeting, a moderator of a panel with diverse experts scattered nationally, or president of a community board, you should:
- take the time to get familiar with the software, get to know as many of the “ins and outs” as you can. You never know when they’ll come in handy.
- publish best practices for a conferencing setup to all your participants. Microphones, cameras, camera height/placement, background acoustics/visuals, etc. (Check out Epiphan’s Tuesday session, below)
- Moderate the participants. Mute and un-mute only speakers when it is their turns, leave time for questions, and get as many involved as possible. Just like IRL.
Again, I know everyone has a different level of expertise, comfort, etc. If you can’t dedicate the time to be a master of all of these, ask for help. From what I remember about the workplace, there was usually one or two folks that would thrive when given responsibility and ownership of a task. I’d like to think that still exists. Fatigue or no fatigue.
Stay healthy and stream on!