Zoom Is Maybe the World’s Worst Business Idea Ever

OK, I finally have to say this: What’s with everyone leaving their camera on during Zoom sessions

Look, back in the days when we all went into the office, meetings were the worst part of the day. So boring and so useless that people used to go through all kinds of contortions to make them barely tolerable.

For example, when I worked in a real office, I quickly learned how to appear utterly fascinated while thinking about something else altogether. My eyes would go wide, I’d lean forward and nod occasionally. Meanwhile, I’d be daydreaming or planning my day or whatever.

Speakers used to thank me for being so attentive when in fact I’d barely heard a word. I was all: “You’re welcome. That was a great presentation about… a very important topic.”

And then there’s the art of checking your phone during a meeting. You don’t want to look rude, so you slip your phone into your lap, tap with peripheral vision (all the while eyes up) to get to your email. Then a quick look down, you read, then eyes up. Rinse and repeat.

And of course, there’s “buzzword bingo” and the old trick where everyone takes a sip of coffee whenever somebody says “mission critical.” And the old standby… doodling while looking as if you’re taking notes.

Now, one of the huge benefits of working from home used to be that you could merely teleconference into meetings, listen along while you do other things, and then pipe up when it’s your turn. You could get some real work done! Or do a crossword puzzle. Or whatever.

All of a sudden we’re all back to pretending to look interested. It’s even worse, though, because when you want to check your phone, you can’t slide your chair back so that you’re hidden from the speaker’s line of sight. Sure, you might check your email on the screen… but since you’re on close-up camera, everyone knows exactly what you’re doing.

To make matters worse, because you’re going to be on camera, you’ve got to change out of your pajamas, fuss with your hair, put on some makeup (if that’s your “look”), and clean out your office so you don’t look like a slob.

Hey, that’s 15 minutes of your life you’re never going to get back.

But that’s not all. Zoom meetings end up running longer because it always takes time to get everyone’s video working properly, and then the speaker’s video feed usually hangs at least once in the middle of the meeting, and then you’ve got to go back to when it cut out. Argh!!!

And for what? What do those videoed faces add to the meeting? Virtually nothing.

All you’re seeing is people trying to look interested and wishing they were elsewhere. Or they might be really interested, but how would you know? There’s no value added! It’s pure hassle.

So, please please puleeeeze, if you must use Zoom, don’t use the video option.

For God’s sake, let’s stop this insanity now.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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