Dear Colleague,

It has been quite a year. I am “languishing”.  Please take this into consideration when interacting, presenting, or scheduling meetings.  My advice to you: less is more. 

Thank you,

Your Audience

The term languishing is a word that refers to a sense of stagnation and emptiness.  Everything may feel muddled or hazy, and your energy may be at an all-time low.  According to Wharton professor Adam Grant, languishing can dull your motivation, disrupt your ability to focus, and triple the odds that you’ll cut back on work. Languishing is also a major risk factor for your mental health.

Read more about the term from New York Times: https://nyti.ms/3w2bLth 

While this is yet another factor that we as professionals must juggle, work must still be done, and we need to continue communicating to our Very Important Audiences (VIAs) whether we are languishing or not.

Here are a few steps we can take to help those near us that may be experiencing such fatigue:

  1. Keep your meetings, conversations, and presentations brief.  Many companies have enforced 25-, 45-, or 55- minute call lengths in order to allow attendees a brief moment to themselves in between back-to-back calls. Not only does this allow for us to take a deep breath during the work day, but it also encourages presenters to continue to improve efficiency and communication.
  1. Be transparent with call expectations. Being on-camera ready requires more energy than we may think, and by the end of the week, many of us are exhausted. Companies such as Citi and QVC have banned Zoom calls one day a week (See: bit.ly/3tGYt3O) to help employees recover. Here’s an idea: put either “Video Required”, “Video Encouraged”, or “Video Optional” in the call notes for transparency, ahead of time.  
  1. Ask yourself, “Is this a meeting?  Or is this an email?”  This is an age-old question. Is it possible to reduce the number of meetings you host? Can you summarize the content in written form and email it to your team instead? Can your meetings be every other week instead of weekly?  

It’s fair to say many of us are languishing after the past year we’ve experienced.  In the spirit of community, and to prioritize the mental health of ourselves as well as those around us, it’s important to evaluate your daily actions to see where you can do your part to help relieve some sense of stress. I’m thankful that mental health has become a priority for organizations and corporations – what can you do at your own individual level?