Communications Unlimited, Exhausting

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Happy Independence Day to the USA!

Back to the Future was released on July 3, 19851. The soon-to-be cult classic explored a future of instant communications and computerized everything. Video phones and holograms were prominent features in the life of everyday people. Many of the movie's predictions about how we connect closely resemble a reality we all know well. Work life invades home life and we're all too familiar with video calls.

A move to remote working & learning has been quite a journey for many of us. Office-first companies that previously insisted all workers must be present in the building to be working found themselves in an unusual world as offices closed. Remote work requires a lot of digital communication to be effective, especially when within a large team. The sort of communications can vary from written word to audio calls and even video conferencing. Far too many leaders decided video conferences were the preferred method of communication. It turns out this move was exactly the wrong choice. Devoting hours to video meetings isn't the best use of anyone's time and everyone has had enough. It's gotten so bad that we have a term for it now (Zoom Fatigue) and companies are now trying to solve it with holograms rather than suggesting we hold fewer video meetings. You read that correctly, holograms will save us from video meeting fatigue.

I love the idea of bringing holograms into my work, but I balk at the idea they'll save anyone from meeting fatigue of any kind. The solution is obvious for anyone who prefers productivity over meetings - hold fewer meetings. Long email threads with a 20 count recipient list isn't the answer either. Tools and communication structures exist to define discussion around specific topics so that all stakeholders can view and understand everything that's happening around a project. Instead of getting stuck in an old pattern, consider what other tools might be available to solve your communications woes. Better yet, ask someone on your team if video meetings are right for the work you're doing together. You just may find a new path to better communications for everyone.

Thanks for reading today's extra short holiday edition. I'm working on some interesting content for future editions. I'm taking a deep dive into how human connections are made through technology. I want to know what drives our decisions. Do we make them entirely on our own from within these systems?



Correction: Back to the Future release date was updated to reflect the correct year (1985).