Stay Connected While Working From Home Part 4: The Trouble with Videos

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3 minute read

As the stretch of social distancing and stay-at-home yawns forward, those of us who are working from home are getting used to some of isolation’s odd side-effects. Zoom calls, Skype calls and phone-in conference calls have become the norm, and it’s great to have those options. We can still talk face-to-face with our coworkers (in a sense), and we can still gather around the watercooler (given that said watercooler is the name of a group chat). Additionally, BIM 360 allows all stakeholders to get over those “awkward pauses” in the workflow because it puts everyone on the same page like a face-to-face conversation.

However, with reliance upon the modern gift of the internet comes the understanding that there will be technological issues. Some of us refer to them as pains in the neck. For example, imagine you’re at your computer. You’ve been focused and working for hours. Now imagine you hear the familiar ­ring-ring-ring of an incoming video call. It’s Sean from HR. You answer, and the ensuing conversation goes a little like this:

You and Sean simultaneously: Hello?

You and Sean simultaneously: Sorry, you go first.

You and Sean simultaneously: Please, go ahead.

You and Sean simultaneously: No, I insist.

In the world of etymology (the study of words), there’s something called conversational rhythm. Speakers of most languages have been conditioned to pay close attention to both body language and the time elapsed between words in order to know when it’s their turn to speak. Unfortunately, when we try to apply this to a spotty internet call, our training goes absolutely out the window. It’s much like learning a brand new language. We stumble over each other, go quiet for a bit too long, or try to take charge when we should put a sock in it (so to speak).

In addition, we’re not used to having a camera focused on us every moment we’re in a conversation. So all of those quirky little mannerisms we might have, which people don’t usually notice, are on full display during a video call. We have to force ourselves not to tug our ears, fluff our hair, make goofy faces, rub our nose, pick our teeth, and myriad other subconscious gestures we may have developed over time. It can become so forced, it feels a bit like posing as a living statue. Is my smile genuine? . . . Should I hit mute while I gulp my coffee? . . . Oh, no, I’m gonna SNEEZE!!

As we adjust and hone our sense of humor, most of us are getting more comfortable – and if not comfortable, at least patient – with the conversational rhythm of video calls.

Sean: Okay, okay. I just wanted to tell you—

You: You froze up. Are you still there?


We’re working remotely, too, so Applied Software has published other blog articles about the challenges of working from home. To see how your company can overcome those awkward workflow pauses, contact Applied Software’s BIM 360 experts for a discovery call. See “Working from Home . . . Even for People Who Aren’t Dummies” for common sense work-from-home tips; “How to Stay Productive While Working from Home” for basic suggestions on being productive while working remotely; and “Working From Home With My Wacky Cat” about how work disruptions also affect our pets.

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