Zoom Blunders Can Be Tricky for Employees

October 5, 2021

Zoom meetings seemed like the logical answer to collaborating from home during the pandemic, and its popularity is likely to last. However, asks Hacker Noon, “Has Zoom Made Us ‘Embrace the Dark Side’ of Humanity?” Writer Michael Brooks, a remote-worker since long before COVID, came across some startling information. He tells us:

“I stumbled upon a Bloomberg article with an axing title: ‘Zoom-Call Gaffes Led to Someone Getting Axed, 1 in 4 Bosses Say.’ According to the results of a survey conducted by Vyopta Inc., which included ‘200 executives at the vice president level or higher at companies with at least 500 employees,’ nearly 25% of employees got fired. Why?! Wait! What? What in the world do you need to do during a Zoom call or any other virtual meeting or conference to get fired? It turns out that ‘mortal-virtual-sins’ include ‘joining a call late, having a bad Internet connection, accidentally sharing sensitive information, and of course, not knowing when to mute yourself.’”

A severe penalty indeed for folks working with an unfamiliar platform amidst the distractions of home, all while coping with the stresses of a global plague. Brooks describes how one might handle similar situations with more compassion:

“There was a baby crying loud in the middle of a meeting with my staff. I asked a proud dad, a member of our team, to introduce an adorable noisemaker. The baby joined and stayed throughout a meeting in her father’s arms. There was another team member who kept forgetting to hit the mute button when she wasn’t talking. The background noise was deafening as if she was calling from the busiest construction site in the world. … For the next meeting, the whole team pretended that there was something wrong with her mic. It lasted for a couple of hilarious minutes. Since then, we’ve never had to remind someone to mute themselves.”

Brooks wonders whether some gaffs represent a sort of rebellion against too much Zooming. If so, one’s job is a high price to pay. He suggests frustrated workers discuss the matter with bosses and coworkers instead of passive-aggressively sabotaging meetings. As for employers, they might want to consider lightening up a bit instead of axing a quarter of their talent for very human errors.

Cynthia Murrell, October 5, 2021

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