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Are employers using Zoom too much?

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Published in Science & Technology News

Citigroup recently announced it was creating something called "Zoom-Free Fridays" to give workers a break on video meetings that have become so dominant over the last year.

There was concern early in the pandemic that Zoom and Microsoft Teams, or other video-conferencing software, might not be the most productive thing for workers. An April study from Wundamail Research said 42 percent of people contributed nothing to the call and 73 percent of respondents considered doing a Zoom meeting "work done" — giving the illusion of being productive.

Citi said part of its decision was concerns from workers about the blurring of lines between work and home that has frustrated employees across many companies.

Here are some expert opinions:

Q: Should businesses scale back the time they spend in Zoom meetings?

Austin Neudecker, Weave Growth

 

YES: In my experience, meetings are overused to provide the illusion of productivity and communication when they often accomplish neither. Broader adoption of web conferencing software lowered the hurdle to call a meeting, wasting countless hours of productivity. Meetings can be effective if they have specific objectives, provide material to review sufficiently in advance, include only necessary people, and end with clear decisions or actions with deadlines.

James Hamilton, UC San Diego

YES: Online meetings can be a great way to cut travel and commuting costs and benefit the environment. But as with so many other promising innovations, if we don't put limitations on technology, we'll find that technology is putting limitations on us. I know I can easily lose focus if I'm not actively involved in an online meeting. Meetings should have a clearly specified start and end time and be limited to those whose participation is essential.

Chris Van Gorder, Scripps Health

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