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COVID-19 is changing the way we communicate

This year brought some interesting additions to our lexicon, including “doom-scrolling,” “Zoom-bombing” and “Rona.” In March, the Marriam-Webster Dictionary made modifications outside its usual revision schedule, including “self-quarantine,” “social distancing” and “super-spreader.” Beyond “official” language, rona-inspired slang is becoming commonplace and “Zoom” is being used multiple times a day.With the need to take things online, the use of cloud-based video conferencing platforms has skyrocketed. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global market value of the industry stood at $5.32 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $10.92 billion by 2027.

Zoom is among the front-runners of the industry and recently reported a 355% increase in revenue in the period that ended in July. According to Bloomberg, this was the second consecutive period of triple-sales growth. The company has also experienced ample criticism regarding security issues like “zoom-bombing.” The term describes an incident of someone interrupting a meeting with inappropriate content using screen-sharing. In late March, the FBI issued a warning about the intrusions and Zoom confirmed it would be freezing developments on new features to focus on necessary security updates after its explosive growth.

Recently the company said it’s rolling out a new end-to-end encryption feature that will be optional for free and paid users starting next week, according to CNET. The downside is that opting in means giving up other features including cloud recording, streaming, live transcription, polling, 1:1 private chat and Breakout Rooms.

Unfortunately, the elephant in the room has also gone virtual, becoming the elephant in the Zoom. It is that thing everyone notices but is hesitant to mention.

EasyOffices recently surveyed 1,000 workers in the UK about their experiences. One of the most common interruptions comes in the form of children (and pets), with 33 percent of respondents reporting family-based interruptions. Those working in sales and marketing and finance dealt with these interruptions more frequently, with 53 percent and 45 percent respectively saying they had experienced something such as a child bursting into the room.

As time has stretched on, we’ve seen our colleagues – and ourselves – get more comfortable on camera. Nearly ¼ of those surveyed have heard coworkers make inappropriate remarks, and nearly ⅕ reported experiencing their peers pick their nose or other bad habits. Thirteen percent said they heard people arguing with others at home and 10 percent reported seeing someone partially or fully nude.

With those complaints in mind, makes sense that “Zoom fatigue” has become a widely-used term to describe how tiring virtual face-to-face meetings can be. During Wall Street Journal Summit in London Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that “30 minutes into your first video meeting in the morning … you’re fatigued.”According to NPR, Nadella isn’t the only one who is over Zoom. Many company leaders have expressed concerns over decreased productivity and some employees feel more stressed than they were working in an office, leaving corporations faced with whether or not they are going to continue working remotely.

Whether or not Zoom and other video conferencing platforms remain central in our lives, there is little chance the words created as a result of this pandemic will fade anytime soon.

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