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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

We're approaching six months of telework — and, for many Americans, that means six months of Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime, text messages and actual "phone calls" (remember those?).

Why it matters: The incessant video-conferencing is tiring CEOs and college students alike.

The big picture: I spoke with Marissa Shuffler Porter, a work psychologist at Clemson University, about strategies to make all those meetings suck a little less. "Any time that you’re going to have a Zoom meeting, it's important to know in advance what's okay and what's not," she says.

  • If it's the constant pressure to be on camera that's stressing workers out, companies could create a camera-off culture after introductions, or only ask speakers to show their faces.
  • People should also think through exactly how long video calls need to be — and they shouldn't shy away from scheduling 15-minute meetings. "We default to scheduling hourlong meetings, and then suddenly you’re in eight hourlong meetings in a day," says Porter.
  • Still, it's important to spend some time in meetings talking about non-work things. "Get rid of the 'Let’s get this over with' attitude," Porter tells Axios.
    • Many employees are craving workplace social interaction or working on projects with new hires they've never met in person. "Talking about something non-work-related goes a long way to build trust," she says.

The bottom line: "People always go to video-conferencing, and we need to not do that," Porter says. "We’ve jumped to it, and we’re really burning people out on it."

  • Before you send that Zoom invite, think, "Could this be a phone call?" Or even better: an email.

Go deeper

Dec 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

A year of monumental change in the workplace

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In less than a year, the pandemic shot us more than a decade ahead in the workplace transformation.

The big picture: The pandemic's acceleration of telecommuting has changed much more than the way we attend meetings. We'll see lasting impacts on company culture, the job market, demographics and cities.

13 mins ago - Health

Axios AM Deep Dive: Covid forever

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was 563 days ago that the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by healthcare reporter Caitlin Owens, looks at our Covid future.

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court judge on Friday temporarily blocked New York City schools from enforcing a vaccine mandate for school employees, days before it was set to take effect, AP reports.

Driving the news: The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system.