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May 27, 2020

Why Your Zoom Meetings are Wasting Your Team's Productivity

 The once in a century pandemic sweeping the world has led to businesses enforcing remote work rules out of necessity. As a result, video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom have soared in popularity. But, did you know that over-usage of video-conferencing tools can lead to lower productivity? Let's dive in to see how this can happen and what could be a possible solution.

1) Virtual conferencing can be distracting

Wundamail research recently published a report which showed that as many as 56% of remote workers surveyed wanted to spend lesser time on video calls. 42% of the people surveyed felt that they did not contribute anything after dialing in on a virtual call. The report suggests that video calls in a remote work environment can be very distracting and are unnecessary for a lot of team members.

2) Security problems and other technical issues

Various cyber-security issues have plagued Zoom in the recent past as a result of a massive increase in the number of daily meetings since December 2019. A lot of large corporations (such as Google, Tesla, Cisco (News - Alert), and Adobe, to name a few) stopped the usage of Zoom due to security concerns. Also, people dialing into Zoom meetings from home do not have ready access to a support team to help out in case of technical issues.

3) Video meetings with no agenda are not meaningful

A lot of Zoom meetings do not have any agenda. Such meetings usually meander all over the place and end up without achieving much. Due to social isolation, it can be comforting to have zoom meetings with a large number of attendees, just to see and talk to colleagues. But it is essential to recognize that the objective of such meetings is to get things done. It is crucial to have a clear agenda to maximize the productivity of your team members.

4) Distracting environments

A lot of professionals have to juggle working from home with personal responsibilities like parenthood. Even though this is understandable as we are in the middle of a pandemic, it can be distracting for other attendees of the Zoom call. Not everybody has a dedicated room in their house to attend video calls.

What is the solution?

Slack is a popular remote collaboration tool used by businesses. Slack does allow video calling both on its own and using third-party video conferencing software like Zoom. However, the problems highlighted above remain. One solution is to have remote daily standup meetings in Slack. You can send each team member a direct message daily with specific questions to help you assess progress and tackle any problems remotely.

The advantages of such an approach are:

1) Better use of time

 The entire standup meeting process takes five minutes or less. Rather than sitting through long and unproductive video calls, a team member can quickly type in answers to specific questions. The answers are posted in a Slack channel for review by the rest of the team. Relevant team members respond to the answers, while others can carry on with their work.

2) Have one-on-one discussions

 You can have one-on-one discussions with individual team members using Slack's threaded conversation option. Doing so allows team members to communicate with one another about issues that only concern them without involving other team members.

3) Have asynchronous meetings

You can set the standup time to the user's local time zone. As a result, your teammate is prompted with questions in their time zone. Using this feature allows team members to have asynchronous meetings without inconveniencing anyone.

In summary

 Video conferencing tools such as Zoom can lead to lower productivity. You should consider other tools that can achieve better results without the distractions that video-calling can bring to teams working from home.

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