Love it or hate it, we’ve all spent an unexpected amount of time in video conferences since 2020. The virtual environment has been a lifeline to businesses, allowing colleagues to stay connected and continue working while being physically forced apart and away from the office. Being able to shift to a completely online environment literally saved businesses.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing. There have been plenty of online mishaps, some embarrassing and some funny, such as the incident where a Texas lawyer was taking part in a hearing but was unable to turn off the filter that made him appear to be a cat. We encountered enough problems ourselves at the start that we created a set of free meeting cards, designed to help people communicate technical problems. Sometimes a laugh can do a lot to lighten the mood in a frustrating situation.
Now that you’re an old pro at online meetings, think a moment and compare them to the traditional in-person meeting. Do you feel people are able to accomplish their agendas just as well in either setting? Do you think some things work out better than others?
A recent study published in Nature magazine examined the impact of a shared virtual environment on creativity. Their findings indicated that while people in online meetings generated fewer creative ideas, they had an easier time choosing the best of the ideas they came up with. Researchers have a suspicion about this: In virtual meetings, your focus narrows to the people on your screen, which also causes you to narrow your mental focus. As we well know, a limited mental focus is no friend to creativity. We need to be able to let our eyes and minds wander.
We’d love to hear what you think about this. Do your own experiences reflect the findings of this study? Or do you feel you’ve been able to brainstorm just as well online as in person? Has anything helped or hurt? Let us know in the comments. Or if you prefer, you’re welcome to shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org