Before the Covid-19 pandemic, I had never worked in an office setting let alone from home. But, after a month or two I — like the rest of the world — started to get the hang of working virtually. Although, lately, it seems like my time has been harder to manage than usual. At first, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why but then it hit me: all of my communications are video calls.
I had been sending and accepting invites to chat “face-to-face” whenever I needed to ask a question or get updated on a project. Where my calendar once showed free time was now filled with check-ins and chats. What could have been a quick email thread had now turned into 30-minute conversations with my colleagues.
When the pandemic first began to spread, virtual meetings were a way to connect with those you were separated from. It allowed your organization to recreate a semblance of normalcy and connection. But with the Covid-19 vaccine steadily becoming available to the general public, this is no longer needed. Many of these meetings have become time consuming and redundant, leaving little time for actual work.
So I find myself asking: Should these meetings just be an email?
If it’s one way communication, yes. Your boss giving you instructions or small updates on a project does not require a meeting. Updating your team on budget changes or deadlines is not only easier to do via email, but it also offers a solid record of the information.
While there may seem to be no harm in these small meetings, time adds up. Before you know it, deadlines have appeared, conferences have ended and you are stuck making up for lost time.
I am all for email communication in lieu of video chat, but sometimes there are exceptions. Staffing changes should be handled face-to-face or through video chat, as well as any major organizational changes. Don’t send an email to your staff telling them their role is changing or your team is making cuts. Working from home does not remove the need for sensitivity; it has increased it.
Having the ability to pace yourself and work from the comfort of your own home should increase your productivity when done right. But with virtual meetings threatening your time management, productivity will fail. Keep this in mind as you continue to collaborate on projects and with teams, and you’ll see better results.
March 1, 2021