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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

Updated Oct 9, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation following the vice presidential debate

On Friday, October 9 Axios' Mike Allen and Niala Boodhoo hosted a conversation unpacking the news of the day and reactions to the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, featuring Sen. Tim Kaine, Sen. Josh Hawley and Rep. Katie Porter.

Sen. Tim Kaine discussed Democrats' priorities going into November, his experience on the campaign trail in 2016, and what's at stake in this election.

  • On the two things driving a significant uptick in early voter turnout: "One, people understand the stakes are so high this election...[Two], people are worried about the pandemic and coronavirus. They like having more options about how to vote."
  • On the experience of running for Vice President: "Everything I learned about the job (of running mate), I learned from Joe Biden...[He] never let there be public disagreement between he and Barack Obama, even though there was private disagreement."

Focusing on his role on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Josh Hawley unpacked his views on the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett and the upcoming election.

  • On the Senate Judiciary Committee's questions about Amy Coney Barrett's religious background: "[Senator Harris] needs to lead the charge...She needs to say she was wrong to impose a religious test and she and her colleagues need to pledge that they will not do it."
  • His view of Joe Biden's record: "He's a liberal globalist, and that's exactly what he'll do as president of the United States. That really should be the central issue of this campaign."

Rep. Katie Porter discussed her reaction to the vice presidential debate and the state of American politics.

  • On the current political climate motivating people to run for office: "We're seeing a lot of people step up and run. I think people are feeling like it's time to try to fix some of this...We're seeing it in local candidates, more women than ever before running or diverse candidates running."
  • On the response to the pandemic: "[The Trump administration] has really demonstrated why having leaders who believe in science matters. At every turn, we've had problems with honoring science, with putting data and research first."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Butterball CEO Jay Jandrain talks turkey

Butterball estimates that it sells one out of every three Thanksgiving turkeys, but knows that this year's celebrations will be different than years past.

Axios Re:Cap talks with the turkey giant's CEO Jay Jandrain about what people are buying, what they're asking the "Turkey Talkline" and what the pandemic has meant for his business.