Zoom cues – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Zoom cues

Over the past few weeks I’ve been fortunate to sit in on the weekly staff meetings with the ProsperUS team. I’ve never been around a professional business meeting environment, so it has been interesting to observe how this dynamic occurs—and even more intriguing to watch it play out over zoom. I feel that workplace culture is much different then it would have been if I were working at my site in person. For example, it is acceptable to join a staff meeting or meet with my supervisor while still in my pajamas or wearing a hoodie. This is something that I generally don’t think would fly in the physical workplace. My co-workers can attend meetings from their vehicles or without their cameras on, and this is also completely acceptable. One thing I personally struggle with throughout my daily meetings is that it’s is difficult to convey the same sort of listening cues that I would in real life across a zoom call. I consider myself more of a listener, and I always try to show others that I’m paying attention when they’re speaking. However, where in real life one can nod or retain eye contact to show engagement, this is not easily conveyed over web conferences. I’m still trying to navigate this aspect and open to any suggestions that others have found effective! Also, I don’t know how things like leaving a meeting early or showing up late should be addressed in the “digital workplace,” or how to respectfully interject if I feel I have something important to say. While the dynamics of social engagement have shifted in many ways, the usual social structures are still apparent to me in team meetings. As the intern, I really only feel comfortable speaking when someone addresses me, so the hierarchy of the workplace is very clear to me. But, I do think zoom accentuates this discomfort. In terms of other aspects of culture, I feel like the remote position provides a barrier to picking up on other cultural cues, but I will continue to be observant as I proceed with interviewing community members in the coming weeks. 

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