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4 lessons from remote meetings we should definitely bring back to the office

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24.09.2021

2020 changed work—possibly forever. Millions of people started working remotely for the first time, and they learned it’s not quite the same as working in an office. I’ve worked remotely since 2009, and I’ve spent a lot of that time thinking about the etiquette of remote meetings, answering questions like when you should mute during a video call.

But as people start transitioning back into the office, I hope they’ll take some of the lessons they learned from online meetings to improve the in-person ones. Here are four video meeting rules that I think should follow us back to the office.

Have you ever tried singing with someone over Zoom? Me neither, but regardless, it’s not really possible. The problem is lag.

Lag, the gap between when you start talking and when everyone else can hear you, is somewhat inevitable in video calls. The result: people talk over each other without meaning to. I’ve noticed a pattern—an improvised etiquette—that’s evolved in response to lag in meetings. It goes like this:

Two or more people start talking at the same time.

After a second, they both notice this is happening and stop talking.

One or both people say “go ahead” to the other.

One person goes ahead and makes their point.

This person, when done, asks the other person what they wanted to say.

It’s such a small thing, but I’ve seen it happen organically in several different contexts: work, church, Zoom happy hours. There are variations. Sometimes it’s another person entirely who follows up to make........

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