The Post-Vacation Work Blues
Who hasn't gone through this. You go on holidays for a week. First day back, you look at your email inbox, you have 143 new emails. Great 🤦... During your absence you missed about 15-20 meetings (considering most people have 2-5 meetings a day). You've drifted away from your team and company and now it's time to play catch-up.
Second thing you do, you jump on a call with one of your team, you don’t really know what they’re talking about, but you talk about your holidays for a few minutes and then drift away into your emails as the others pick up from where they left off the week before. Meanwhile you’re "present" on the call, but you're not there and you're not being productive.
The amount of noise you face compounds, and you’re none the wiser. You don’t have context, or a way to see what the teams you’re a part of discussed over the last week. You can't participate, you aren’t informed, you’re excluded. That’s unproductive, and frankly and possibly more importantly, it's frustrating.
To catch up, you have to ask people who were in those meetings, people who already spent time discussing those points, and now they have to do it all over again. We call them information-repetition meetings.
It's your first day back, and you wonder why you ever came back at all...
Now apply this scenario on a smaller but frequently recurring scale. Imagine the times you have to go to the doctors, pick up the kids from school, attend one meeting but miss the double-booked one you wanted to attend. The times where your satellite-offices in different timezones are having meetings late at night, making it near-impossible for you to attend... unless you stay up or wake up at an unreasonable time.
Remote working and distributed offices come with vastly different distractions than traditional offices. Whilst the post-vacation blues is so obvious, we have to be careful about the everyday blues. These much smaller and almost unnoticeable negative feelings happen multiple times a week. They are detrimental to your mental health, and to the company as a whole, hence why we believed it was time to rebuilt the online meeting experience from the ground up.
The mental toll and cognitive overload ("meeting fatigue") associated with working remotely is not because we have too many meetings, it's a symptom of a much bigger problem: A lack of design around meetings. And right now... those bad meetings control our lives.
How to Catch-Up After a Vacation?
Just like Jennifer, we encourage you to:
1️. Block some time on your first day back for catching up,
2. Recommend you tell people you are back and your time is blocked to catch up.
Go over the discussions that happened during your absence. We've designed a bespoke experience around consuming the online meetings you've missed so that you don't have to spend hours watching meeting recordings and reading noisy raw transcriptions. We even designed a way for you to contribute to meetings you weren't able to attend.
For example the Clearword online meetings platform allows you to search for your name, or project name. If you have been mentioned by someone during your absence we allow you to see that and jump to the relevant moment in the meeting directly.
For us at Clearword, we want to make sure that when you come back from holidays, you're able to catch up with context, rapidly.
In an ongoing effort to promote and improve mental health as a byproduct of using Clearword, you won't have to ask people who were in meetings to jump on a call and repeat what was said.
This reduces the amount of "information-repetition meetings" you and your colleagues have to jump on, and makes your meetings much more efficient and productive as you are included and provided with full context.