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Online Meeting Fatigue – It a real thing

We need to get back to normal

Maybe we need to have everyone make their broomsticks defy the laws of physics and close whatever otherworldly portals they opened. As millions of people stay indoors due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we moved our way of connecting to a virtual world.

During this time of social distancing and self-isolating video conferencing has allowed our lives to adapt. Businesses are having employees check in remotely with their teams, schools have gone digital even our grandparents are participating online.

Who is with me when I say “I am so over this”?

Thank goodness for the people who can cut through the bullshit and find the ridiculousness during these stressful times. The COVID-19 pandemic has given many joke makers and meme creators a plethora of material to turn lemons into lemonade, and online meetings have provided their share of opportunities to provide us with the comedy relief we so desperately need right now. From people being stuck as images of potatoes to intentionally using green screens or dressing up as different characters, these virtual times are redefining business casual in hilarious ways.

As fun as it is to laugh about people who enter our homes accidentally by walking in the background of important meetings in their robes or our children asking for yet another snack, these virtual meetings are causing exhaustion. The fatigue you are feeling from a day of these types of meetings is real. If you are sick of your online workspace, you are not alone.

While technology has been very effective in keeping us connected, there is also a loss of connection, just ask any extrovert. My husband, for example, a business owner/salesperson, a person who is always on-the-go looking to meet or talk to anyone is now forced to stay stationary. While we continue to be on webinars or virtual meetings his superhuman ability to read the room is limited.

Needless to say, in-person all-day meetings are exhausting but there is always a few minutes in between each to stretch or walk to the next conference room, and you were in a physical place with other people where you can see facial expressions, collaborate ideas or feel the energy of the space and read body language. All of that gives us the insight needed on how to move forward. We simply don’t get that from video calls, especially if one of your colleagues or meeting attendees suddenly and “magically” morph themselves into a freaking half human half-cat creature.

With online meetings it is hard to know when to speak – this simple cue is easy enough to pick up in a physical meeting. Some attendees just aren’t forward enough to just “jump in”. In addition, And if we are trying to cram in as many people as possible simply for ease of it all we are taxing ourselves to the limit.

It’s Fight Or Flight

We are hyper-focused on not only navigating this new work environment but all the external things as well. Where are the kids? I hope they don’t interrupt me…again! How do I change the background? How in the world do I share my screen? Shit, what if I’m called on and my mic doesn’t work – I don’t know how to troubleshoot? Crap, my internet is not stable, what the hell do I do now? Why is my freaking cat screaming at me? Crap what did they say? Do I respond or simply smile and nod? What is she talking about? Can this person just shut-up? SERENITY NOW! Dear heavens is that what I really look like, when did I start looking like my mother?

We are physically and mentally over all of this

Our bodies are looking, no screaming, for relief. Not everyone has a home office that actually resembles the office environment. We are hunched over tables, curled up on couches, sitting on beds, porches/patios – heck, if you’re like me you’re in the bathroom hoping to get a moment of silence or a stronger internet connection. Our bodies are sore, eyes hurt and our vision is blurred. Our new work environment certainly does not look like anything we had before. We aren’t stretching our legs in between meetings and we certainly are not following any regular eating habits.

Our eyes are overworked and strained as a result of all the extra screen time we are enduring. Excessive overuse of our computers, smartphones, and tablets suppresses our naturally produced melatonin; this, in turn, affects our ability to fall asleep and enjoy a very peaceful night’s sleep. Instead, we are going to bed sore, restless and our brains still wired. There are some things we can do to relieve the strain, fatigue, and frustration of online life.

It’s important to remind yourself that you are living in your workspace, and that doesn’t give you a chance to unwind during a commute home. You can’t just leave work behind, because that counter where you are prepping dinner is where you had seven Zoom calls and will need to catch up on emails after the kids are in bed. Work is always present, and so is the stress. Stacia D. Kelly, Ph.D. suggests “create a few rituals to help you step away from the work. If you can, get out for a walk, do something creative (that doesn’t involve the computer screen), and remember to look up from your computer/device every 20 minutes or so.”

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Business

How To Have Your Business Thrive Even in Tough Times

COVID-19 has effected almost all business

Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 crisis has negatively affected everyone at a personal or professional level. In the past six weeks we have seen less of our loved ones due to the stay-at-home orders, longer lines at the grocery store and the weird obsession with stock piling toilet paper and pop-tarts.

One thing is for certain, we are going through this together. Every business has had to pivot in some way. Restaurants are being creative with curbside pick-up, retail shops have amped up their online presence.

Some things to help your business thrive

How To Have Your Business Thrive During A Crisis by 610 Merchant ServicesWhether you are a one-man (or lady) shop or have a full team, when faced with difficult decisions or situations you could either:

A) Curl up into a fetal position, cower in terror and leave yourself to fate and wait to pick up the pieces of whatever is left of your company after things have stabilized or
B) Roll up your sleeves and get to work.

If your choice is B… Great job!

Getting started is usually the hardest part. Even during the darkest of hours there is always something that can be done to keep your business viable and serving the community. I know you’re wondering how, considering you’ve experienced a significant cash flow crunch – how can you possibly improve your business without cash.

You’ve come to the right place for answers…

We’ve listed several items that have zero cost. Things you can do with just a small investment of time.

Marketing:

Marketing should be one of the largest investments a business makes in its own company. Given the tight budgets nowadays, it’s no surprise that companies are cutting back on their marketing budget. However, cutting back on budget and stopping your marketing efforts are two totally different things. You can easily do some marketing for little or no money at all.

When was the last time you updated and optimized your Google My Business listing? When was your last Instagram, Facebook or Twitter post? Have you hopped on the TikTok bandwagon yet? Have you updated the content on your website or written a blog post lately? When was the last time you loaded a how-to video for your customers on YouTube?

These are all things you can do on your own or have one of your staff do for you. Even better, if you have furloughed some employees, why not see if their willing to pitch in for a small fee.

According to Michael Pollaci, President of Stafford Technologies “…posting on any or all these channels on a regular basis is critical to surviving this crisis. Your customers need to know you’re still there. The best way to do that is to communicate with them.”

Internal Processes

Let’s face it, the way we do business has changed. Never, in our wildest dreams did we think things would go this way and not have a Plan B in place. Now is the perfect time to document or adjust your processes. Alyson Caffrey, Founder & COO of Operations Agency has some very helpful tips.

When starting a process – look at it with the high-level overview of the following:

  • What the process is
  • How does it serve the Company
  • How does it serve the customer

For more helpful resources click here.

Look at expenses

No matter what causes a cash flow issue, any financial crisis is a stressful time and they require added focus and attention to detail. Controlling costs and tightening up spending are the easiest ways for companies to quickly adjust.

Here are a few simple suggestions to help you to make it through.

  • Consolidate your spending and negotiate better pricing. For example, if you direct mail to your customers consider changing your print and mail house services to one vendor.
  • Shop around. If your current supplier is not able or willing to work with you on better pricing their competition will be. Call your vendors competitors and see what new customer deals they are offering. Get vendors to compete for your business.
  • Look at your discretionary expenses. Can you do your job without it? If the answer is yes, pause or cancel your subscription.

Staying in touch with your customers

Even during these stressful and uncertain times, take time to connect with customers. Building honest and authentic relationships during times of trouble can lead to loyal customer relationships.

  • Be transparent about the choices your company is making. Let your customers know what choices you are making during this time.
  • Be real, authentic, and transparent about your efforts to serve your customers as best as you can and let them know how they can support you in return. Loyal customers are your champions.
  • Continue to maintain a strong relationship with your clients whether directly, individually, in newsletters, or social media. Show them you care. More than ever, your customers need to hear from you.

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

No doubt, across the globe COVID-19 has been extremely damaging to businesses. And although it’s tough, we will get through this. There is always a light at the end. We are strong, we must have courage, stand our ground and push through to continue to make our businesses succeed.

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