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If the COVID-19 Pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be a little more creative. Working from home, employers have leveraged new technologies to keep their remote staff connected and communicating.
Managing a remote work staff using emails and text messages was not going to cut it. Meeting via conference call was better, but we needed something more visual. Then everyone found out about Zoom.
Zoom allowed us to stay connected visually. Instead of staring into a blank screen while other people talked, we could have our own version of the opening credits from The Brady Bunch. Everyone attending the meeting could be seen in a grid across your screen. The leader could display a PowerPoint presentation to everyone at the same time.
Of course, remote learning educators have been using this technology for a while. It’s only in the past year that businesses with remote employees have found it not only useful but necessary.
Parents with school-age children know all about Zoom by now. It’s become part of our everyday lives. People are using Zoom for remote baby showers and wedding ceremonies. Last year, we participated in an evening of remote trivia with 60 other people. Many people used Zoom and connected with their relatives, unable to attend the traditional Thanksgiving feasts.
That brings us to this year’s Super Bowl. Since it’s not safe yet to gather with 50 of your closest friends in your living room to watch the game, what are you going to do?
I have been hosting or attending Super Bowl parties most of my adult life. I once hosted a party in my basement when it wasn’t finished yet. I had electricity, but no walls, ceiling tiles, lights or heat. Instead of asking people to bring food or beer, I requested portable heaters and a few lamps. I rented a 25-inch TV (which back then weighed over 100 pounds) and we smoked so many cigars, we had clouds forming under the low-hanging ceiling. Instead of taking bathroom breaks, people were going upstairs for oxygen.
But with all the safety precautions this year, we decided to have a Zoom Super Bowl party. Instead of gathering at someone’s house, we could stay home. Using Zoom, we could see and talk to each other as we watched the game together. It was not much different from sitting on a couch in the same room. The only thing missing was the wings, chips and dips. We talked about the game, what we’ve all been up to, and everything in between. I found out that Optimum is about three seconds ahead of FIOS because Bruce (who has Optimum) was cheering before seeing the same play on FIOS.
When someone would leave the room for a minute to get a fresh beer or to use the bathroom, their head would disappear from the screen. Every now and then, one of the wives would pop into view and say hello.
Was it exactly like being together? Of course not. Was it better than watching the game by yourself? Absolutely.
Maybe we should do this more often to stay in touch? Instead of gathering at a bar to watch the Islanders play the Rangers on a Tuesday night, we could do it remotely. It would undoubtedly be cheaper and the experience would be the same. Opening Day of the baseball season is just a few weeks away. A nice Zoom meeting could be just what the doctor ordered.
Super Bowl Sunday is usually the social event of the year. There’s no reason it can’t still be that with a little planning and foresight. This year, our Zoom experience was a test to see if we could pull it off. Next year, we should all eat the same foods and put out a bowl of chips to really experience the same things at the same time.
Just no cigars in the living room.