Zoom: The New Judgment Zone

I recently listened to a podcast by American Banker where Vanessa Colella, Innovation Chief at Citi, said, "We're all the same size rectangle on Zoom." And this is why we can't have nice things in financial services. #FacePalmEmoji

Being the same size rectangle on a Zoom call is not democratization; to even say that is short-sighted. There is a LOT going on in those rectangles and it's called "judgment".

This isn't about the "new normal" of pandemic working. (We are ALL SICK OF HEARING THAT!) This is how insensitive language pokes at those who are having a really hard time working from home and Zoom just tattles on them even more. Zoom opens their home to our eyes - and to many, we can agree - our home was supposed to be our safe haven from work.


1 - Let's All Stop Telling People They Have To Turn On Their they don't

Zoom fatigue is real. At no point in our working lives have we had to be in front of a camera looking at so many people and ourselves...for 6-8 hours per day. Even if you've worked from home before, many more have not.

So if someone doesn't want to turn on their camera - that's their right. Respect their wish. We don't need an open invitation to every person's home or where they decide to work.

2 - Stop Telling People How to Stage Their Home For's none of our business

I was on a call not long ago where a "business strategist" not only told the dozens of people on the call they should clean up their house to look professional for clients (are you already gasping?), but also went on to tell them to move this piece of furniture, go buy a lamp, take that photo off the wall, and take down their deer antlers, and more. I sat there MORTIFIED thinking, "How insensitive is Zoom making us?" And it's not Zoom's fault, it's how we are using it.

When we get an invitation into someone's home, would you EVER say these things to someone? (Ok - maybe someone reading this would and if so, omg stop it!) Zoom has made people hyper-aware of comparisons. Example - one person's home might look fabulous and another person's home may not be as lavish. Teddy Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy" and many are using Zoom as a comparison tool and the Have and Have-Nots seem to be shaken out in these calls.

3 - Stop Telling People How to Dress for Their Zoom Calls...why does it even matter

The same "business strategist" also in this same call started calling people out for what they were wearing. "Hey, So-and-So, do you really wear tee-shirts when you meet with clients because you look very unprofessional." I was simply dying for that person and I honestly at the time didn't know what to say.

Even I was recently "called out" for making a video on separate days - about 2 weeks apart - for wearing the same shirt. So? Get out of my closet. I wear clothes twice sometimes - a lot of times - why are we telling people what to wear?

(And... if you want even more Zoom etiquette conversation, then I highly recommend Dani Fava's Twitter thread on the topic. She's always an amazing resource and says it like it is.)

NEXT STEPS... Zoom is a great tool for us to get business done, but use it kindly. If you get the privilege of stepping into someone's house via the democratization of a rectangular box, do know that we should respect that opportunity to enter, always be kind and respectful (and even compliment!), and empathize someone's home is their sanctuary.

Warrior on,

Sheryl Hickerson, CEO

Females and Finance

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