Today I had back-to-back meetings on Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams and then Zoom. I could do comparison of all three. I'm not going to. Those kind of things have been done to death.
It's been almost seven months now of working from home and virtual meetings. From my perspective as a meeting co-ordinator there are some real positives. It is a lot easier to get people together from the further flung corners of Wales to discuss aspects of work and contribute to joined up working practices. Another six months of this and we will have delivered on projects that may never have got sorted without the option of 'meeting' virtually. We have also been able to establish a weekly 'team meeting' that has brought together people in similar roles to me and helped us to get to know each other better, offer support and advice on stuff and be sounding boards for each other.
But I miss real-world meetings. I miss the corridor conversations either side of the meetings where I learned useful sidenotes on what was going on. Never underestimate how much intel you can gain on a three minute walk to the car park with someone you otherwise will just never see. I also miss the processing headspace on the drive home after meetings, or driving between meetings.
Virtual meetings are more tiring. I'm not the only person who says this. Even though you can safely discount a good ten per cent of the meeting time due to someone, or several people, having tech issues or speaking while on mute. (This meme really made me laugh!)
Days when I have screen meeting after screen meeting I feel relieved to reach the end of my working hours. I think it's the level of mental processing needed, and the type of concentration required. Someone should really do an analysis on the psychological effect of virtual meetings and the differences between real world meetings.
We also need to factor in comfort breaks. That's something that is easy to forget! If I don't answer a question during a meeting, odds are it's because the coffee I started the meeting with has made its way through my system! Regardless of the technology being used, biological processes remain the same.