A window to your soul

A window into your soul… not quite but hasn’t this new age of virtual meetings given us all a wonderful peek into each others lives. 

Historically a work meeting was in quite a controlled environment, be it a board room, meeting table and the like, but now we have been thrown into an era where your opposite numbers could literally be anywhere and subject to the randomness of real life.

We have seen meetings interrupted by a cat casually cleaning itself in front of the camera, things falling off walls, couriers at the door and more. One colleague valiantly didn’t miss a beat when presented with a sandwich, a dog attempting to get said sandwich and a child hanging from his neck, all in the space of 5 minutes. We have seen colleagues sitting in nurseries, bunkers, box rooms, sun rooms, kids rooms and more, all giving us a brief glimpse into their real lives. 

Gone are the days of the duality of life and the office persona, we are getting to see people as they really are. As time has moved on, self respect has begun to creep in and the PJs have been replaced more suitable attire, though I’m sure many have gone for the half and half approach, PJs comfortably under the desk, shirt or blouse in view. 

It is tough as we are forced to work in an environment that was never really created to be an office but we’ve all managed it and that’s the point we’ve ALL managed it together, so it’s been accepted. And it’s only temporary… isn’t it?

It’s quite remarkable what you can tell about a person by what you can see behind them. So much weight has been laid up on this that several savvy companies have set up that allow you to rent items to perfectly place within shot in your home, ensuring you ‘give the right impression’. You can rent books, backdrops, furniture and art, all to allow people to see a better you. But that’s a shame in many ways as I like the fact we see people, warts n all, it’s refreshing and levelling. 

However I think the Zoom seems to have actually brought people closer, it so much more personal that a phone call and I have always been a big believer in being able to see someone’s eyes when you talk to them. We have been able to re-connect with old clients and form some fabulous relationships with new ones. In fact we have found more close & open working relationships in the last few months than we have over the last decade, that has to count for something. 

We’re definitely in a new age and I’ll confidently say the video call is here to stay, which for a host of reasons could be a good thing. However, and this is a big however companies will now have to work very hard to coax their teams back into the office. 12 months of sumptuous surroundings, comfy sofas, a fridge full of treats and high quality coffee on tap tends to leave people wanting the same and they may be somewhat reluctant to return to the old ways. Employers may have to accept it will take time to change the appeal of heading to the office in tracky bottoms. Hopefully a few client meets will quickly snap people back into the sharp outfits but the slippers may linger, hidden under desks for a few months.

I will close by quoting a small bit of advice I saw on social media “If you blow on your mug during a zoom call, people will think it is tea and not wine in your mug.” Take that as you will.