Quarantine Life: The WebEx

Avatar

Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

17 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Siegel
    Ignored
    says:

    This was funny, in an OMG kind of way. Maybe it’s because we’re more used to this sort of thing, but my Zoom meetings haven’t been this bad. I have one very morning that has a very formal structure. But even the faculty meetings have been OK. And, TBH, it seems like at least half the purpose of online meetings it to make sure everyone is OK.

    Of course, we don’t have any deans or higher ups in our meetings so far. That might change things.Report

    • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Michael Siegel
      Ignored
      says:

      Another purpose of those meetings is to demonstrate that “hey, I’m actually really working and not just eating bon bons.”

      (It’s true, by the way, that I’m actually really working. I don’t even blog during the work day unless I’m taking vacation days, as I did a couple weeks ago. Of course, I’m very grateful to be in a position to do this. I realize others don’t have the option, either to take vacation days or to work from home.)Report

  2. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    My wife leads a lot of meetings, and with the current cruelty, leads a lot of meeting online. Whether Zoom or some other system (and each college uses its own and will. not. be. told. what. to. use!) they all seem to take the same form, which is mostly a check in and a collective bitch session.

    But, she is pretty good at roping them in. All while cats wrap themselves around peoples heads, dogs bark, children scream, people reposition cameras to best show off their living rooms, and I am wandering aimlessly in the background.Report

  3. Avatar dragonfrog
    Ignored
    says:

    My employer has a long-standing culture of online meetings (often to the point of minor comedy – I’ve been in online meetings with attendees who would all be within line of sight of one another if they all stood up and looked over their cubicle dividers).

    Fortunately we don’t, as a rule, use video in our meetings. Nobody need know how many of their colleagues have shirts on.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to dragonfrog
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, teleconferencing/web conferencing isn’t new to us either – we have a lot of remote employees around the country, and I’m one of them. We have two 2 corporate headquarters, one in the east and one in the northern midwest, and both of them are closed right now and so there are now dozens or hundreds more of us working from home. Part of the problem is variously bad internet connections and those of us who are used to doing the web conferences from conference rooms where someone else runs the equipment.
      Fortunately, our server does not seem able to handle the load if everyone has their cameras on, so we mostly keep them off. Which is good for me because I haven’t brushed my hair in weeks.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to dragonfrog
      Ignored
      says:

      25+ years ago when I was writing prototype software that got used for experiments with internet meetings, one of the things that jumped out in some of them was the potential benefit of having a tablet-like device to provide a shared view of the document(s) being discussed so that everyone knew we were on page 13 and talking about the second paragraph. This was suggested even for face-to-face meetings of the group in a single conference room.

      In a meeting of peers, anyone could move the largish red dot that was the pointer. It was amusing to watch the single solid dot turn into two flickering dots in different places when two people insisted on moving it to different locations and refused to release their mouse buttons until they “won”.Report

  4. Avatar Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    In my world, the funniest thing is a “brainstorming” call with an SVP. In my corporate sphere:

    SVP: says a thing… introduces VP “Chief of Staff”
    VP CoS: says scripted thing planned by SVP, hands off to Other VP [who at least has a Line of Business charter]
    Other VP: says more scripted things to set-up the guy who knows what he’s talking about:
    Director: says stuff that explains SVP, VP, Other VP, things – with charts and graphics.
    SVP: closes meeting with “Call To Action” to do 3 things that we do anyways, but now we have to document them as a “Call To Action” fulfillment items.

    Percent innovation with “Call To Action”: 0%
    Percent added to overhead: 10%
    Net Gain for Doing the Actions we’re already doing: -10%

    SVP, VP CoS, and Other VP tout bold leadership to C-suite… and have the Call-to-Action lists to prove it.Report

  5. Avatar Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve been working semi-remotely (i.e. with a nationally distributed team) for years. We are thus pretty good at video meetings. we have added weekly standing meetings to drink coffee and show off our pets together which we didn’t have before.

    That said, the federal space is Zoom-lite at the moment owing to the FBI security warnings. Got a second email today in fact about how our IT folks will be actively removing downloaded Zoom plug ins and blocking the web client for GFE. So kludgy Web-Ex it is I guess.Report

  6. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    Fortunately, the video meetings at my company go somewhat better than this. We use our own software product (recall I work for {bigtech}), so tech issues are rarely a problem. We’re all using the same thing. We use it often. Our calendar and email infrastructure is integrated with it.

    One feature I love is I can turn off my camera, since I don’t really fully engage in my normal grooming behavior from home. Plus, the “mute” button is easy to find.

    Anyway, I don’t mind it. Working from home is pretty okay so far, at least for me.Report

  7. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    Note, this seems like a helpful service to get us through these trying times: https://www.sweetfarm.org/goat-2-meetingReport

  8. Avatar Swami
    Ignored
    says:

    The sad thing is that our in-person meetings were pretty much just as dysfunctional, in somewhat different ways.

    As someone who spent half his working life in meetings, I absolutely detest them.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Swami
      Ignored
      says:

      What I always hated was meeting with a half-dozen in one place, and another set remote. With the whole thing on confrence call. Two whole groups talking over each other and you could hear whispering in the background half the time.Report

  9. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    “VP: “I think- I think- I think…” (repeated until Participant D yields the floor)”

    I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems to me that this is actually an important thing about not-in-person communication; that overtalking is a lot harder when you can’t physically intimidate someone into shutting up. You can still do it but it’s a lot more obvious that you’re grabbing the mike, as opposed to just being a big threatening dude with a loud voice and the other person is intimidated into giving up and letting you think “I’m not being rude, obviously she realized I was right, otherwise why did she stop talking?”Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *