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March 30, 2020

Week 7: Zoomitis Goes Global

Alan Ibbotson- Changeologist. Founder of The Trampoline Group. Executive Coach. Keynote Speaker on Change, Leadership & EI

Update on this article – now heading into week 7 and it seems the world really is officially zoomed out to the point that even the BBC are writing about it, with quotes and interesting insight into the fact that yes- we are in fact working harder to read the room and communicate with others during these calls.

Original article:

It’s the beginning of week 3 working from home for me and most of my clients and I’m already picking up the Zoom fatigue. So I have a message for all leaders of teams, before the backlash begins.

Here it is.

Not every damn thing we do needs to be on video. 

In fact – it shouldn’t be. Calling in is usually fine – remember the 90’s when that was our only remote option anyway? Yeah. Make like it’s 1999 and chill out please.

Here’s what I’m hearing:

“I’m working as hard as ever on my job, but now I’m also a schoolteacher, a parent, a cafeteria worker, a cleaner, a dog walker and a part-time caregiver to my own parents. Unfortunately, I’m not also a Superhero. It’s messy. And if I’m constantly on video, I either have to be in one spot letting the house burn down around me or walking you around the house on my cellphone, as I make sure that in fact it does not do that. I also have to have good hair and a quiet space to show up and pretend it’s all calm on the western front here.

Newsflash! It isn’t! I want this to be over so I can go back to the office for a rest. 

So please, slow down. It’s lovely that your kids are grown, sleeping late then spending the rest of the day camped out in the basement TikTok’ing with their friends. I do actually take comfort that you’re able to step up in these uncertain times for our company, finding new revenue streams, synergies and strategic partnering opportunities to fill the gaping hole in our forecasts left behind by this epic shit-show. And, I must say – your home office looks divine. Ahh- what I’d give to be able to take a nap on that couch behind your desk. 

You know what my kids are doing? Painting the dog. Not a picture of the dog. The actual dog. While feeding him the grilled cheese they refused to eat because it’s the third time this week and I haven’t had time to go to the store because every time I try, there’s a new Zoom on the calendar.”

Or words to that effect.

So as great as it is to see faces, connect and take advantage of the opportunity that we have to see each other when we’re remote – sometimes people need a break from it and can contribute just as well without it.

Talk to your people, make sure they’re not Zoomed out. Use the phone. Email. Slack. Give them time to respond. Don’t expect miracles. Assume that they’re doing their best. This is harder on some than others. We all need each other’s grace. That starts with grace in leadership.

Stay safe, stay home, stay kind.