The Unexpected Ways Zoom Improved Our Lives at Nebo
We are all living in quite a different world than we were a year ago, there’s no denying that. With the changes that came from the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing pajamas to work, strategizing where to buy toilet paper, and baking one too many banana breads became the norm. There also came a major shift in everyone’s favorite four-letter word: work.
Similar to other companies and businesses that were able, Nebo shifted to a work-from-home environment effective Monday, March 16, 2020. We have maintained this policy to this day. With this shift, we have become ever reliant on our other favorite four-letter word: Zoom.
Now let’s be honest, with so many on-camera meetings in a day, we have all been guilty of some classic Zoom fails over this last year. “Internet Unstable” during an important client meeting? Accidentally leaving your mic muted/unmuted? Airpods not connecting? We’ve all been there.
We’ve witnessed Zoom for the good and the bad. Zoom Fatigue, a.k.a. “the tiredness, worry, or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication,” is very real and not to be ignored. Being on video for hours and hours is not natural or realistic for many of us. Face-to-face interaction has been deeply missed by Nebo.
But I won't go on about all the trials and tribulations Zoom has brought us. I think we can all agree we could use some uplifting stories. Let’s discuss the unexpected ways that Zoom has made our lives better throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zoom Bridges Our Gap
Now, more than ever, we are lacking our sense of community and togetherness that we so desperately need. Studies have shown dramatic increases in feelings of loneliness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve come to learn that there are times when a Zoom check-in with a colleague, unrelated to work, has been the most valuable. When we couldn't be together in person, Zoom was the second best thing. We could hop on a 15-minute coffee or lunch just to catch up on non-work related topics, like we would in the office. That really made the biggest difference for me and makes everyone feel more connected now that we are apart and working from home.
You don’t know how one interaction or check-in could really make someone’s day. Having a quick Zoom touch-base with a colleague, simply asking for life updates or how their week is going does go a long way. Zoom reminds us that we are not alone.
How Nebo Uses Zoom for the Better
Seeing as we couldn't be together in person, we made the best of what we could to maintain our sense of culture and community. At Nebo, we love any reason to celebrate. So this year, that meant our epic Halloween party had to be over Zoom, but that didn't stop us from having our Halloween costume contest, partaking in our very own Peanut Butter Sandwich Day, or hosting a live Cinco de Mayo Lunch and Learn on how to make our favorite cucumber guacamole, salsa fresca and margarita recipes.
Of course, we cannot forget the endless Coffee Buddies, a longstanding Nebo tradition of pairing two random people to catch up over a brew. With new people joining remotely, we doubled down on our efforts to do Coffee Buddies. This allows people to meet everyone in the office, even if they don't work on the same teams or clients. Although it was remote, we still could hop on a Zoom call to get to know each other and welcome new team members.
As a project manager in charge of planning our team outings, I had to get creative planning one that was virtual. A few months after working from home, the Zoom Fatigue was real. So instead of another Zoom happy hour, we got into full detective mode with an online murder mystery game.
Of course, what is a Zoom meeting without a fun background? We really rose to this occasion with a new series of custom backgrounds for every holiday, season and celebration. Having a new selection of backgrounds has really brightened our weeks (shoutout to Emily van den Berg!)
The Surprise and Delight Moments Shared on Zoom
While of course we would love to see our colleagues in person, catch up over a cup of coffee, or grab a bite together, we have gotten to know each other on a deeper level through Zoom. Those surprise and delight moments break up the tensions and stress of a work day.
Prior to the WFH state, every Friday when we celebrate birthdays, we used to sing "Happy Birthday" in unison to those who had birthdays that week. Key words: used to. Now via Zoom, it's almost impossible to sing together simultaneously, which results in an off-pitch and jumbled "Happy Birthday" song for those brave enough to unmute themselves. This has turned into quite the joke around the office, and probably one of the best gifts Zoom has given us.
And there’s nothing better than seeing all of the Nebo babies, kids and pets at our Beer Friday gathering. We get to see a glimpse of our colleagues’ lives like we never did before, and for that, I am thankful.
Although the circumstances are not what we'd wish them to be, working from home and relying on Zoom challenged us to connect and get more creative than we would have otherwise. It gave us even more insight into our coworkers’ and clients’ personal lives at home, and it pushed us to go that extra mile and make a conscious effort to connect with one another. And that’s exactly what we did.