The New Stresses of Working Virtually

Imagine. Prior to COVID, GDSI performed most of our meetings in person, with us traveling anywhere across the globe to meet with clients. Then, on March 15, the world turned upside down in reaction to a global pandemic. Now, all our meetings and demos are virtual. As software design experts, the GDSI team has been privy to never-before-seen client stresses. Some of which, frankly, are rather hilarious. To provide you an entertaining break in your day, I thought I’d share three new stresses I have encountered and ways to address each with humor. 

Non-stop Virtual Meeting Stress 

The good news about working virtually is you can fit in many more meetings a day. If you’re working in IT, you know that means you have to schedule meetings with people when you can get them. Everyone is participating in back-to-back meetings all day long, from morning to night. 

Most of my meetings are scheduled for a full hour. Let’s say I have an 8:30. I’ve mentioned to the person I’m talking to that I have a hard stop (the watchword of the year) at 9:30 so he/she knows I will need to immediately jump on the next call. At 9:25, a new stress kicks in. My shoulders stiffen. I clench my jaw tightly, until I’m grinding away the enamel. I don’t want to be late to my next meeting. Then the inevitable happens. At 9:29, just as I’m thinking I might make my 9:30 on time the client says, “Wait, I have a few more questions.” Ugh. 

So, here’s the quandary, both the 8:30 and the 9:30 meetings are with clients. Clearly, I want to be respectful to both. What should I do? I have the not-as-prevelant-pre-COVID-19-stress of telling one client I have to end their meeting, because I don’t want the next client to think I don’t respect their time by showing up late for our meeting. Compounding that stress is the fact that at GDSI, we host calls via WebEx. So, at 9:29, along with the ‘I have just a few more questions client’ I’ve got people from my next call joining the conference line before the first call ends. Alas, the stress of these back-to-back meetings colliding happens ALL. DAY. LONG. 

I haven’t yet found a respectful way to minimize or eliminate the need to hop from call to call. So instead, I manage my five-minute per hour stress by taking solace in knowing that the GDSI team provides our clients with effective and efficient solutions—absolutely no stress involved! 

WebEx Delay Stress 

WebEx is an amazing app, but sometimes there’s a massive speaking latency which causes significant stress. There’s one client with whom I often WebEx. She calls in through her cellphone. I join the call via my computer. For some reason, there’s always a five second delay. So, what happens? We don’t have normal conversations in which one person talks and the other listens before speaking. Oh, the stress. Because of the delay, we are constantly talking over one another. We miss the point the other person is making ALL. THE. TIME. Add this onto my non-stop 8:30 virtual meeting stress and at 9:29 I’m trying to tell her I must get to my next call and she’s trying to tell me she has more questions. As you can imagine, politely concluding our conversation is challenging, albeit entertaining. 

It brings me great joy to know that GDSI integrations are nothing like my WebEx experience. We get your legal software platforms talking to each other, not over each other. The result? No more stress from duplicating efforts between apps. 

Pop-ups During On-Screen Demo Stress  

Okay, now I’ll share an embarrassing stress. As you know, Slack, Skype, and Microsoft Teams allow external users. I always invite my clients in through GDSI. Despite my best intentions, I seem to forget to turn off the chat feature. 

The scenario. I’ll be in the middle of a Clio-Worldox integration demo to a large potential client. All is well until suddenly chats from other clients start coming in. Since I am in the process of presenting a demo, the large potential client can see all the incoming comments! Making matters worse, I have multi-year, established relationships with many of my clients. Clearly, that is a good thing! However, it means that based on our relationship as a trusted partner, beyond a business comment, an off-color joke may come in, a pet name, or even worse, my wife texts me a ‘Honey-Do List.’ Immediately, I break out in a full body sweat. My face turns redder than my hair. The embarrassment as I’m fumbling to turn off the chat function is an entirely new stress as a result of the already taxing pandemic. 

While I try to professionally apologize or use self-deprecating humor to mitigate the pop up, I take solace in knowing that beyond the entertainment I may provide on a call, GDSI has what it takes to alleviate your software challenges. 

Conclusion 

All in all, I hope I’ve provided some humor to take some of the stress out of your day. I hope I haven’t made you late for your next meeting. Remember to turn your chats off, but more importantly, remember this crazy time will inevitably come to an end. Just know, we’re all in this together. You don’t have to stress out alone. 

Partner with Experience 

GDSI has been delivering custom software solutions to law firms, legal software companies, and professional services firms for 25 years. We are a software design studio delivering creative solutions to the business challenges inherent in legal operations. Our frequent, relevant communications ensure clients are always informed. From research and analysis to design and implementation, our judicious approach ensures sustainable results. We’re about details done right. 

For more insights on custom software development, please follow me on LinkedIn or email me at DGeller@GDSI.com.