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How do you Zoom?

I was reading an article the other day in The Wall Street Journal titled “Video Calls are Good for Laundry Too” by Shan Li. The article talked about how people started out working from home at the beginning of the pandemic and dressed as if they were going to the office for the video meetings they would be attending that day. Most actually sat and paid attention to what was being discussed.

As time wore on that fell by the wayside. More and more people are now admitting to multi­tasking and taking time to do the laundry, cleaning the house or any other chores that need to be done at home while they are on the calls. Others have admitted to turning off their video feed and just listening to the meeting while they text, play games or read a book.

One person actually admitted to actively participating in two Zoom calls at the same time! Talk about multitasking.

In my own experience, the longest Zoom call I had to attend was scheduled for five hours. I had to sign off early because my head could no longer take the strain of focusing on the screen and all the video images of the over 30 people on the call for that length of time.

Since then I have found out the technical term for that burnout is called digital concussion. Believe me, I suffered with blurred vision and headaches for two days after that.

Companies are planning for the post-pandemic workplace. They are discovering that the majority of their workforce can be just as or more productive working from home than in an office setting, which is a cost savings to them but a major headache for landlords. Large companies are renegotiating their leases to reflect the need for less space, thus reducing their overhead costs. Other companies are opting for having smaller office buildings between several locations for those who still need or want to work in that type of environment.

Outfitter REI, which just completed a major construction project in Oregon for their new headquarters, had not even moved into the building before deciding to put it up for sale simply due to the fact that the majority of the employees who would be working in that space are now working from home.

We see it here in Carbon County where our local Realtors report that it’s a seller’s market. With the ability for remote work and historically low interest rates, more people are moving out of the urban environments due to the pandemic and relocating in more rural areas. Our challenge here is adequate internet access for the more rural areas in the county. This is something that the county commissioners and CCEDC are working on.

Zooming, Microsoft Teams and other virtual meeting platforms are not going away. We need to make sure that we keep up with technology for the benefit of all our residents and businesses.

Kathy Henderson is director of economic development for the Carbon Chamber and Economic Development.