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I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

They are exhausting as research has shown. At 30min brain fatigue sets in. Yet recent Microsoft data shows video meetings have increased by 148% due to pandemic remote work!

There is another way! Remote work best practices have already been established pre-pandemic by organizations who have successfully worked this way for decades.

One example is GitLab – here is what they require from anyone who calls a meeting:

“For existing and upcoming meetings, add this question at the top or bottom of the agenda and document the answer: Could this meeting have been handled asynchronously, and if so, how?”

That’s right – most meetings can in fact be conducted asynchronously. So where does video fit in? They make this observation:

“There are many tasks which can be handled synchronously and asynchronously. The goal is to always select asynchronous where feasible, creating more focus time in your day. This also creates a higher likelihood that team members will have more energy for synchronous connections that bolster work relationships. Informal communication is vital in an all-remote setting; by being ruthless in one’s bias towards asynchronous work, it creates more space for synchronous team bonding. We each have a finite amount of tolerance for work-related meetings and video calls; synchronous moments are better saved for informal communication such as coffee chats and team trivia where feasible.”

Indeed.

Did you notice what they are using video for? Most of the time it’s reserved for informal light social interactions. What a smart use of video!