Zoom into my room: Getting down to business in a pandemic

3 minutes read

Belinda Seeney

Content Director

If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that I’m great in bed. Like, really great. I’ve learnt that I’m flexible, creative and experienced and I can expertly switch between taking charge and taking direction. I’m also a dab hand at distracting my kids so they don’t burst into my bedroom at an inopportune moment.

Obviously, I’m referring to that downright bonkers period from March to July when COVID-19 forced us non-essential types to work from home, sent our children back to learn from home and we all discovered the Joy of S…kype. And Zoom. And Teams. And FaceTime.

How marvellous!

What pre-March was a novelty (FaceTime? How fun!), a curiosity (She’s sent me something called a Zoom invite – does anyone know what that is?) or an inconvenience (Ugh – another app to download) became the norm.

With a small house, two children “studying” at home, a hyperactive dog thrilled to have playmates 24/7 and a full roster of clients needing vital and urgent attention, I naturally took to bed.

Against the backdrop of a neutral wall hung with tasteful prints, flanked by soft lighting from bedside reading lamps and separated from the tumult and turmoil outside by a lockable door, I shuffled between video conferencing platforms and got to work.

From my bed, I held court with CEOs and high-level executives, I crafted complex communications strategies, I brainstormed strategies and offered advice, I interviewed major players and was interviewed by the media myself.

And while my colleagues and clients all flexed their posh home offices, Insta-worthy interiors and lush courtyard gardens, I was surreptitiously trying to smush down a pillow fort so my doona stayed off-camera.

Video conferencing was fun in theory: seeing your colleagues and clients in real-life without the risk of unwittingly contracting or transmitting a grandparent-killing virus.

In practice, those first few Zoom calls were like everything else attempted in the privacy of your bedroom for the first time: awkward, fumbling and inducing mild anxiety about unflattering angles and the expression on your face.

I’m glad I put in the effort and perfected my technique because a global study suggests this new way of getting down to business is here to stay.

A survey of 1200 international businesses (including more than 200 from Australia) found:

  • 76 per cent said they learned a lot during the crisis and will permanently change the way they operate.
  • 77 per cent said remote working was successful and will likely continue after the crisis ends.
  • 79 per cent said the crisis taught them to be more empathetic.

My favourite finding, however, is this one:

  • 70 per cent said they learned more about their customers during the crisis than they did the previous two years combined. Clearly the result of peeking into bedrooms – even virtually.

Belinda Seeney

Content Director

Belinda Seeney is Aruga’s Director of Content and a Walkley Award-winning print and digital journalist with more than 20 years’ experience in community, regional and metropolitan newspapers, magazines and websites.