We are in unprecedented times, as I’m sure you’re well aware, sitting at home, bra off, Google alerts on for “Purell back in stock.” As an increasing number of people are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, many are using video conferencing platforms to have meetings with coworkers from afar. COVID-19 has given us—among many, many other things—a chance to learn about who we all are, the way we handle crisis, the way we come together, the way our coworkers act on Zoom. Some of you have never worked from home and oh my God is it showing.
In addition to subsisting on canned beans and yelling at everyone to please, for the love of communicable diseases, stay inside, video conferencing is our collective life now. It is where our meetings happen. It is how all social interactions take place. It is how we are dating during the coronavirus outbreak. What is outside? What is conference table? A happy hour? At a restaurant? Is that a thing we ever did???
As we adjust our lives to keeping ourselves and others safe, the way we know and understand our coworkers is changing along with it. Here are 15 truths about Zoom conference calls anyone with an internet connection and a recurring virtual staff meeting knows to be true.
1. Most Of Us Have Fully Given In To The Working From Home Lifestyle
As someone who has been working remotely for more than three years, welcome. We solely dress from the waist-up here, and that’s only if we’ve got a Zoom call at 10 a.m. As much as I want to be someone who is productive fully dressed, posture perfect, seating at the kitchen table, I am much more useful when still in my pajamas, slouched over, treating the sofa as my corner office.
2. Who’s Still Keeping Up The Facade And Wearing Pants
If you get up during a video conference call, showing your coworkers that you are, in fact, wearing office-appropriate pants, that is a full-on brag. Nay, a personal attack. Do not come for me and my second-day sweats.
3. Some Of Your Coworkers Wear Glasses?!
You think you know someone after working with them for years. Then, you see them bespectacled on a video call. Realizing someone has been wearing contacts this whole time is like learning someone has been going by their middle name: jarring, suspicious, world-shattering.
4. Whose Desktop Is Pure Chaos
While screen sharing at home, it is all too easy to accidentally expose your icon-ridden desktop to your co-workers. Why do you have multiple copies of the same document? Who knows! Probably the same reason you have a dozen accidental screenshots of the Google homepage.
5. Whose Desktop Is Suspiciously Pristine
What are you hiding in that single desktop folder labeled “Work”? Is your desktop background actually one of the default mountainscapes or did you quickly switch it from the collage of Chris Evans you definitely have saved in your Pictures?
6. Who Has Open Browser Tabs For Days
Like learning who wears glasses and whose desktops look like their computer barfed Word docs, seeing who keeps a solid 47 browser tabs open while screen sharing is a real look into your coworker’s psyche. Enough with enneagram numbers and Myers-Briggs types, the number of browser tabs you have open at any given time is all I need to know everything about you.
7. Which Buck Wild Bookmarks People Have Saved
Before it went defunct, I had OmNomNomify.com, the browser extension that turned every image, video, and gif on any webpage into a picture of Cookie Monster, saved as a bookmark. I don’t know what I would tell someone had they seen that little Cookie icon in my bookmarks bar whilst I was screen sharing an otherwise serious presentation. I’m sorry? You’re welcome? Me want cookies?
8. Who Has Roommates (Human, Animal, Or Otherwise)
Imagine finding out your boss has three cats or the person who sits next to you at work lives with two roommates. Does it change anything about how you see them? No, not really. But it makes you go, “oh...huh” and honestly, a little middle-of-the-road, non-earth-shattering “oh...huh” is what we all need right now.
9. Who Is Using Virtual Backgrounds To Disguise Their True Nature
Cowardly! Untrusting! Let us see the chaos of your children screaming “Into The Unkown” in the background. Bless us with the gift of your cat licking itself incessantly on the floor while you try to talk about “staying productive.” Is your partner asleep on the couch? The people deserve to know! Unless you are using a virtual background as a bit, which will remain funny throughout the duration of this pandemic, they should be banned.
10. Who Is Actually Comfortable Sharing What Their Living Space Looks Like
Yes, let us see your filth! Show us which chair you throw all your half-worn clothes onto! I need to know what color your living room is painted, how much light your kitchen gets, how many pillows you have on your bed! It is the only thing I have right now!!!
11. Who Absolutely Just Woke Up
Listen, just because you threw on a mock turtleneck doesn’t mean I can’t sense your unbrushed teeth through my computer screen. I see the sleep still in your eyes. You cannot fool me.
12. Who Does Not Care About Their Angles
Catch me lying in bed, phone camera in my face, bad yellow lighting, and an even worse up-angle.
13. Who’s Still Showing Up To Meetings 10 Minutes Late, Coffee In Hand
If nothing else, at least they are fully committing to who they are. Also, is that a Starbucks cup?! You better not have gone and gotten Starbucks!?
14. Our Desks Can Be Anywhere!
The couch! The kitchen counter! Three stacked pillows on your bed! If we could find a work-appropriate way to work from the tub, I’m sure we all would.
15. Who Clearly Hasn’t Used Video Conferencing Before
Ahem, person whose microphone isn’t muted. We can all hear you slurping your cereal milk, using your pet voice with your dog, telling your roommate that this definitely could have just been an email. In that sense, I suppose you are speaking for all of us.