Poetry Blog – Teams Meeting

This is a new poem about a fairly modern topic – the online meeting. Now, I understand that they’ve been around for a while, but my point is more that they’ve never before been so widely used. As Coronavirus struck and lockdown ensued across the globe, businesses and other organisations were forced to find new ways of keeping in touch with employees and clients who were now being forced to work from home. And thus, words like Teams, Zoom and House Party, among others, all took on a new meaning.

I’m generally left deflated by even the mere mention of a meeting and, probably as a result, I’m inclined to simply drift off. I’ve fallen asleep in more than one. But if people insist in reading entire PowerPoint presentations back to me, word for word, then I reserve the right to get bored.

Lockdown and working from home felt, as much as anything else, like time off from meetings for me. And then someone mentioned Teams and Zoom. And so, as I sat in my first ever Teams meeting I made sure that I was paying attention – they could all see me, after all, but kept a notebook out of site after realising that there could be a poem in this! So here you go – the secondary result of my first couple of Teams meetings.

Teams Meeting

A little blue circle floats and spins, taunting me with my lateness. Usually, said circle is laughed off, commented on with a half-baked witticism, something like, ‘It’s thinking about it’ accompanied by a knowing smile, a raised eyebrow. But not today. Today’s blue circle is a slow death, evoking only many muttered expletives.

After what feels like hours, but is probably only minutes faces emerge, framed in their own rectangle and assembled in front of you like a gameshow panel in a strangely decorated studio. There are welcoming smiles and the possibility of others yet. Who knows amongst an array of webcam settings? A nose here, a chin there, the very top of someone’s head. Who knew that a chair could be sat on in so many ways?

It’s orderly at first. One voice with instructions, an agenda and, worst of all, jobs to delegate. Maybe that explains the top of someone’s head? A cunning attempt at work avoidance that clearly I should have thought of first. I consider sliding down into my chair until I’m sat beneath my table.

Virtual hands are pointed out, to wave at the thought of a question. Mine will therefore be very much more virtual than others. Some things never change. Despite virtual hands, still a tangle of voices ensues as we relax into the familiarity of it all; the agenda temporarily capsizing in these rapids while the meeting floats aimlessly downstream. Familiar voices bring warmth, a smile and I consider something juvenile to get noticed, extend the laughter and take the meeting out of reach and off towards the sea. But order resumes, our professional heads fixed firmly in place as the bullet points are ticked off and a department is run at a distance safe enough for all. Strategies discussed, ideas shared, virtual hands waved and questions asked. After such a long time, even meetings can be enjoyable.

But all too soon it’s over and we settle back in our home ports, perhaps, like me, wondering what the next weeks and months hold and longing, ever so slightly, for just a few moments more.

I thought I’d conquered Teams after dipping my toe – my real one, not virtual – for the first time and being able to use it with ease. The first stanza tells you that I was wrong. Teams took forever to connect for my second meeting and I actually ‘arrived’ late, which in truth is much more like the real me anyway. In this instance though, it was nothing short of torture.

Once I was in attendance I took a look at my colleagues – the ladies I refer to as my big sisters – who I hadn’t seen in months. And while it was great to see faces, it was a veritable puzzle working out why they couldn’t use a webcam! It meant that for a good portion of the meeting I was just puzzled and distracted by the fact that someone was sat with just the top of their head in view, while others were so close to their webcam that I could just see a nose or an eye!

Despite the presence of virtual hands for people to raise when they had a question, our meetings would start in an orderly fashion, before descending ever so slightly into a gaggle of voices talking over each other. As usual in meetings, I kept quiet and observed from the safest distance I’ve ever managed in a meeting. But I realised, after a short while, that just being in the meeting was lovely. These were not just colleagues, but friends with familiar faces and voices that just relaxed me and made me feel quite normal for the first time in the months of lockdown. Even when we got back to the agenda I was enjoying the meeting.

In fact, I’d enjoyed it so much that when it ended and faces began to disappear from the screen, I felt more than a little bit low. And then it was back to isolating and trying to find enough things to do in order to keep myself from going mad.

Feel free to leave a comment about the poem and if you really enjoyed it you might like to click on the links below to have a look at some of my other stuff.

Author: middleagefanclub

Man, husband, dad, teacher, coach, Geordie. Former street dancing champion of Tyne and Wear, guinea pig whisperer, developer of the best-selling fragrance, Pizzazz and alleged liar. Ex male model and a devilish raconteur. No challenge should be faced without a little charm and a lot of style.

4 thoughts on “Poetry Blog – Teams Meeting”

  1. It’s insane how this has now become the new normal. How long this last? It makes me anxious just thinking what else is to come and what other changes must we consider as our new “normal”. This was a great outlook on how those feel and what they see now working virtually.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve really articulated well the challenges of virtual meetings (it’s frustrating enough with family members). I can understand the joy of seeing co-workers after a prolonged absence and the loneliness after the meeting ended. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The technical runaround, seat logistics, background set-ups, participant gestures, the sneaky thoughts that run thru our minds mid-meeting & most of all – a sense of community in these virtual gatherings. You’ve captured it all so wonderfully in this poetry! Really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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