I’ve made no secret of rather enjoying this enforced period of remote work. Sure, it has had its challenges – but there have been so many fringe benefits. Less commuting! No crappy-canteen lunches! More time to sleep in!
And, today, I was reminded of another benefit. I am terrible at remembering names. Many a time someone has bumbled up to me in a corridor, asked my opinion on something, and I’ve said “could you email me and I’ll send you more detail” because I didn’t want the mortifying experience of saying “I know I know you, but I don’t really know your name. Is it… Dave…?”
I used to joke that it would be really helpful if everyone I worked with wore a prominent name badge. And now, thanks to endless video calls, they do!
Most services – like Zoom, Skype, and Hangouts – let users enter free-text. And the general convention around my peers is to use:
So, at a glance, I can see Abdul from Accounting, Barbara from the BBC, and Chris (She/Her) are in the meeting.
Some people put little emoji flags to signify which country they’re in, or which languages they speak. I’m sure you’ve noticed a dozen other little things people are doing in a similar vein.
When people are late to meetings, we don’t need to do the usual rigmarole of going round the table again to reintroduce people. The metadata is available for all to see.
I’m sure the novelty will wear off. And I’m sure that it’s open to abuse. And that it doesn’t work for everyone.
But, for now, I have much less anxiety in meetings. And that’s nice.