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By Andrea Lo | April 13th, 2021

All Tea No Shade with Andrea Lo

When working from home started to become the norm at the beginning of the COVID-19 era, plenty of jokes were made about how the world is finally realizing the majority of meetings could and should have just been an email.

It seems, however, that a year into the pandemic, many are still insisting on running pointless video calls that could be summarized over a couple of paragraphs. In fact, with the explosive popularity of Zoom, it almost feels like some people are using it for the sake of using it. (What are you thinking? Don’t you want to go back to Netflix, posting photos of your cat on Instagram, walking around naked, or whatever else you do while WFH?)

But as more and more pointless virtual meetings are forced upon me, I started to think about what’s really driving it. And I think it is because they are lonely.

For the record, I do get it. In many industries, virtual meetings are an essential part of work. And with a working culture as tense as what we have in Hong Kong — where many bosses like monitoring their staff in real time, if they can’t do it in person — it’s hardly a surprise that “check-in” video sessions reign supreme.  

And in some cases, it’s a form of validation. I’m sure anyone who’s been in the workforce for more than a couple of years has had co-workers who constantly feel the need to “find things to do” above their pay grade, in order to appear useful and needed. For people like these, I’m sure Zoom calls are their bread and butter. 

But, really, loneliness in the era of a coronavirus is no joke. Humans are social creatures, and the decrease (or complete loss, in some cases) of human interaction can have a real effect on the psyche. 

I am writing this from my temporary home of Barbados, where we’ve been under a very strict lockdown for months. So I’m not discounting the importance of connecting with others. 

Still: does that mean that we need to turn every email into a call, and every call into a virtual meeting? No. 

When you are feeling so lonely that you can’t take it, please consider calling your mother, friends, or Tinder dates. Stop making it a thing with people you work with. 

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