Time to consign zoom and over-zealous covid rules to the Room 101?

Chris Goreham, of BBC Radio Norfolk, who hosted the online debate, with EDP and Norwich Evening News

EDP and Norwich Evening News editor David Powles may look happy in this zoom with and Head of News Ian Clarke and Chris Goreham - but he wants to condemn some of them to his Room 101. Picture: Zoom - Credit: Zoom

There are many things to have come out of the coronavirus pandemic that I hope will continue long after life has returned to normal.
Wouldn’t it be great, for instance, if it gave us all a new appreciation for life and a greater perception of the things that matter, and those that really don’t?
And will some of the increased community spirit and support for others shown during lockdowns last once we’re out of the other side?
Personally, the pandemic helped me to slow down a little bit, not arrange to be so busy and I’d like to maintain a better balance from here on in.
But there are some things I’d like to banish, or at least reduce, from our lives pretty quickly.

One of these I see examples of on an almost daily basis and would describe as ‘things that moved over to zoom or other video conferencing tools during covid and now intend to stay on there permanently’.
Don’t get me wrong, the increased use of zoom and the like was an absolute godsend for so many during the worst months of 2020.
It kept friends and families united, stopped many from feeling isolated and lonely, provided a platform for parties and quizzes and helped ensure important work meetings and 121s could still go ahead.

Wearing masks have become part of everyday life. Pic: PA

Wearing masks have become part of everyday life. - Credit: PA

Some of these should undoubtedly continue to help us through our every day lives - but when it’s being needlessly maintained, for no real benefit, I object.
This week it was revealed some schools are looking to make online or phoned in parents' evenings a permanent fixture, to make it easier for them to stick to times and for teachers to fit it around their busy jobs.

We’ve had a few over the phone parents' evenings in lockdown and, while they were better than nothing, I found them awkward, stuttering and lacking the depth of information that comes with a face-to-face conversation.
I'm most annoyed it will deprive parents the joy of sitting on a tiny primary school chair and feeling like we're in the land of the giants.

I’m a junior football coach in my spare time and a few years ago received my first qualification from the FA. In doing so I spent two weeks at the Bowthorpe FDC completing a mix of practical on the pitch sessions and in the classroom tasks.
It was brilliant, enjoyable and informative. Now it turns out the FA is to turn these courses into online only, depriving attendees the chance to get on a pitch and try their methods and stifling the many engaging debates that broke out when I did the course.
I see absolutely no benefit - it just strikes me as a bit lazy.
Meanwhile, we hear of company after company looking to close or downsize offices, partly because they feel video conferencing allows them to do so.

Marilyn Carrick, 75, of Hevingham, had three attempts at the speed awareness course, but due to tech

Are you fed up of spending so much time on zooM? - Credit: Archant

Yes, let’s give people flexibility in their lives and cut out pointless long-distance journeys for meetings that are over in an hour.
But there are many benefits that come from office working, such as learning from others around you, the impromptu conversation that leads to a great idea and the morale boost of enjoying the company of others.

And while on the subject of my covid Room 101, I'll add overly strict and non-sensical application of rules designed to prevent the spread of the virus.
While I understand the continued need for everyone to be careful as we ease out of this horrible period and would never condemn someone for trying to do their best, it’s time people stood back and made sure the ‘rules’ we are applying actually make any sense in the first place.
In the last week alone I’ve seen a cafe objecting to someone trying to use their own coffee mug, citing Covid, when I’d argue that’s actually safer.
And there was a football club which told all the parents watching while safely spread out around a big pitch to move away to a much smaller car park nearby.
I know everyone is trying their best so I’m trying not to be too harsh, but let’s not lose common sense or the art of meeting in person.
* What would be in your zoom Room 101? Email edpletters@archant.co.uk.

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