When COVID-19 forced state governments to tell us to shelter in place instead of going to our offices, we switched to holding sales meetings, customer meetings, management and staff meetings online. It was perfect!
You simply sat at your desk in your home office, if you had one, or your dining room table if you didn’t, or maybe you continued to work from your company office and scheduled Zoom meetings there.
At first you scheduled one or two Zoom meetings a day and filled the rest of the day with emails, phone calls and even got some paperwork done. You can do this, especially if you’re working from home. What’s the worst that can happen?
Let’s assume you’re a modular factory sales rep and were told to work from home. That first couple of weeks were probably filled with a Zoom meeting a day, calls to your builders, your sales manager, somebody in engineering and doing quotes for your builders.
Then those Zoom meetings began to occur two, three or more times a day. And you begin to notice that every one of them is scheduled for at least an hour. One sales rep told me he was on 6 one hour Zoom meetings in one day.
Standing 3 feet from someone staring them directly in the face for an hour or more is totally unnatural. During weeks three through eight, you can’t stand to look at their face constantly and while their talking, you quickly turn away to check your phone for emails, check your calendar to see who you’re meeting online next or worse, one of your children decides this is the perfect time to get sick in the other room. If you don’t have kids, then your cat picks that moment to hack up a hairball on the hall carpet.
The person you were talking with notices you’re distracted and asks if you need to take a quick break, which if taken, takes you past the time for your next Zoom meeting.
Now you start ‘recording’ all your video conferences so you can watch them later which as we all know, never happens.
Last week I told an Australian modular factory owner I would “love to have Zoom meeting” with him. Little did I realize his 11:00AM was my 1:00AM. Not only did I have to force myself to stay awake, I actually had to put on a nice shirt and comb my hair. Thank God I recorded it. I plan on watching it soon...maybe.
And did I forget to mention all those phone calls, emails and Skype talks never stopped coming at you.
DIstractions of all types are now your friends. When you Zoom, how many of you start checking out the other person’s background. What kind of books are they reading? Wow! Where did they find that picture? Furniture is my personal favorite. It’s even better if your Zoom conference has more than 6 people online. The time that can be used checking out their home office can eat up half the time.
A couple of weeks ago I Zoomed with a young man whose home office was decorated with Star Wars merchandise including a full size Luke Skywalker cardboard standup. I honestly can’t remember much of this conversation and probably neither did the other 4 people on the Zoom conference.
The sad thing is there is no good news about Zoom meetings. People have become addicted to them and they are now part of everyone’s daily grind. People will schedule Zoom meetings in lieu of phone calls or chats.
And while your day continues to become overloaded with all these live online meetings, the increase in live video feeds on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are exploding. Everyone and his brother is now interviewing each other.
There are only so many hours in the day and trying to juggle your Zoom meetings with live online conferences, emails, phone calls and bathroom breaks, look for sales reps to begin feeling the pressure.
Gary Fleisher s a housing veteran, editor/writer of the ModularNews blog and Modular Construction Industry Observer and Information Gatherer