This Surge of Online Communication Could Lead to Habits That Are Here to Stay
The stakes for your next Zoom meeting are high. You and the CEO will be reviewing the new contingency marketing plan. Better clean your room a little and iron a nice shirt. But first, you need to explain on the team Slack channel why you need input from everyone before that meeting. Your post needs to be snappy and on point to motivate the team. Then maybe a quick virtual date after work to wind down. You'll need to take your mind off that meeting.
Just a few months ago that paragraph wouldn't have made sense. Virtual dates, which are a real feature in dating apps such as Bumble and JWed, are the most surprising, but the other changes could be just as influential. The details of how we communicate and how we work have changed extremely fast.
For example, Slack has more users than ever. This means that more people are using instant messaging as a primary means of work communication. You could set up a video call, but maybe better to talk on Slack first and see if you can take care of everything there. Some people already used tools like Slack this way, but most didn't. In-person meetings and conversations usually took precedent.
A quick search reveals all kinds of new articles about remote work. What's more, these articles show a surprising level of detail: Best Practices for Instant Messaging at Work, Stay Connected While Working from Home with a Virtual Lip Sync Battle!, or my favorite: Make Sure You Don't Look Like a Big Weirdo Before Jumping on That Conference Call.
Given the scale of recent events, these adaptations make sense. The real question is whether they are here to stay. It's hard to say, for example, if remote work will stay this popular. Many predicted a massive shift to remote work in the early 2000s as a result of faster internet connections and better personal computers. That shift never happened.
Other habits might stick around just from, well, habit. Taking a little extra time to write a better message on Slack is something we have to do now. We know there might not be a face-to-face meeting or a water cooler chat to clear up any confusion. The same goes with our approach to video meetings. If everyone gets used to them, the idea of replacing that trip to the head office with a couple of Zoom meetings might not sound so crazy. Lockdown work conditions have raised the stakes for online communication.
Don't worry though, everyone knows that mistakes and misunderstandings happen online. You don't have to be perfect. Just look at how many people are misspelling quarantine. Don't let the corn teens get you this weekend.