the best zoom alternative 2021

The Best Zoom Alternative for 2021

Perhaps you’re looking for a Zoom alternative? Looking back at some of the gigantic economic shifts that we saw through the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most important ones would undoubtedly be the rise of video conferencing.  It was the enabler for teams of all sizes to continue working from home.  

If you’re anything like us, you’ve received video call invites on 20+ different platforms at this point.  All of which put their own unique spin on what it means to communicate in virtual space. 

Because the undisputed giant is Zoom, of course.  

As a company, what they’ve been able to do is really impressive.  We remember reading an article about them in the midst of the first lockdown.  We heard how their user numbers had more than doubled overnight.  As far as growth stories go, you won’t find many that rival their rapid scaling.  

In fact, at the time of writing, Zoom has 300 million daily users – a quite staggering figure.  And perhaps more impressively, the word ‘Zoom’ has become a verb.  That’s how much it is engrained in our culture.

With all that being said, and with all its success – there is still something missing, it seems.  The whole paradigm of video conferencing was fun for a bit when it was a novelty.  But as it became a bigger part of day-to-day life, peoples’ opinions began to shift somewhat.

Everyone started talking about Zoom fatigue.  And they started to look for a viable Zoom alternative.

What is Zoom Fatigue?

Zoom fatigue entered the lexicon to explain that feeling of exhaustion you experience when you’ve been staring at a screen for hours and hours of meetings.  But without the personal connection that you have in-person.  It’s a mix of physical and mental exhaustion that made a lot of people dread clicking on that Zoom link.  

It’s clear to see that spending 7-8 hours in a day in video meetings is much more draining than real in-person interactions.  It might be time that we consider a Zoom alternative.

A List of Reasons

There are a variety of reasons for the aforementioned Zoom fatigue:

  • Eye Strain.  We all know that staring at screens all day is not great for our eyes, but when you’re doing every meeting by Zoom, what choice do you have?  This eye strain affects you in a myriad of ways.  It makes it difficult to concentrate and often giving you headaches.  It’s not something to take lightly.
  • Social Isolation.  It might feel like you’re interacting with people because you’re communicating with them on the screen.  But you aren’t actually getting the social connection that you think you’re getting.  Instead, your interaction with those 2D versions of your team members are hollow imitations.  They actually leave you feeling more isolated.
  • Self-consciousness.  Whether we like it or not, we all act differently when we can see ourselves on camera.  In every Zoom call, every participant wonders how they look and how they are coming across.  This is because they can see themselves in the corner of the screen.  This takes a psychological toll that we underestimate.  We are more self-conscious than we often like to admit.  When you’re constantly switching attention between the conversation and how you think you are perceived – it drains you mentally.
  • Multiple people moving.  You know those moments when you are in a large Zoom call, and you have a lot of faces moving in front of you?  It takes a lot of mental bandwidth to keep track of everything.  In a normal conversation, you would only focus on the person talking.  But in a Zoom call – you can see everyone’s reactions in real-time, making it much more draining as a result.
  • Technical Difficulties.  It never goes perfectly the first time, does it?  Every Zoom call comes with its own technical difficulties that must be rectified before any call can go ahead.  That makes things rather frustrating from the get-go.  All of these interruptions get in the way of the flow of the conversation.  And that just makes the call even more taxing.

We could go on and on, but you get the point.  Jeremy Bailenson, the director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab said it well when he said

Video calls put us in a position that is unnatural.  A combination of having prolonged eye contact and having someone’s enlarged face extremely close to you forces certain subconscious responses in humans.  Our brains have evolved to have a very intense reaction when you have faces close to you.

Zoom fatigue is a real concern, and we need to find a viable Zoom alternative.

Finding the Best Zoom Alternative

We can’t do away with video calls altogether, unfortunately. They do provide a lot of benefits that we can’t easily replicate.  In today’s remote working world, they remain indispensable.  

And that’s why we’ve got nothing against Zoom as a company.  We just believe that we should be innovating on the concept and reimagining what a video call could look like.

It’s the reason we built timz.flowers.  It’s the Zoom alternative we wish we had.

It’s been a labor of love for a long time now and it’s incredibly exciting to see it live in the world.  It’s making a real difference in the lives of our users.  We’ve been blown away by the early feedback, honestly.  And we are working incredibly hard to build the best Zoom alternative that exists on the internet.

Our software takes the very best of video conferencing and augments it with a fresh perspective.  This helps to avoid some of the Zoom fatigue we discussed earlier.  At this point, we’ve now tested it with clients of all types and the results we’ve seen so far have been incredible.

All of a sudden, teams who used to hate video calls are excited to use them.  They can take their work processes to another level altogether while maintaining the sanity of the employees themselves.  It’s magical, if we do say so ourselves.

And the key ingredient of this Zoom alternative is to shift towards asynchronous video meetings.

Video Conferencing Software

{Screenshot from a flower-meeting}

Why are Asynchronous Meetings Better?

As the name might suggest, an asynchronous video call is one where all parties don’t have to be on the call at the same time.  Instead, video communication is set up in such a way where individual people can consume and create video responses at a time when suits them.

This is the key paradigm shift that we’ve built timz.flowers on and we think it makes all the difference as a Zoom alternative.

Here are some the key reasons why asynchronous meetings work better than traditional Zoom calls and why it’s the key to a worthwhile Zoom alternative:

  • Protects Deep Work.  Instead of video meetings dictating the schedules of each team member, everyone can structure their day in a way that protects their deep work.  This is what moves the company forward.  The video calls are fitted in whenever is convenient and this makes for much more efficient use of time.  This alone can completely transform your business as your productivity soars.
  • Autonomy.  In a similar vein to the point above, when you give your employees autonomy as to how they spend their time, they can be much more efficient.  Not to mention also being much happier as a result.  It reduces the dread of meeting anxiety.  It allows them to plan their time in a way that works for them.  This is especially important in a remote working environment where flexibility is worth its weight in gold.
  • Eliminates Wasted Time.  In any traditional video meeting, a large portion of the time is not actually going to be relevant to you.  Often there are only certain segments of the conversation that pertain to you and the rest of the time is wasted.  You shouldn’t need to sit through other tangents that don’t apply to you.  In an asynchronous meeting, you can go directly to the pieces that matter to you and ignore everything else.  This makes it much more efficient for everyone and is a much better use of time all around.
  • Time to Think.  Synchronous video meetings require you to be thinking on your feet and responding in the moment because that’s why you’re all there.  While some people might thrive in this environment, the vast majority of us are not at our best in this regard.  The urgency of this sort of communication doesn’t allow for deep reflections on the issues at hand.  Instead, it rewards confidence and bravado rather than competence.  In an asynchronous situation, you can take your time and actually think about your responses.  You can consider various parts of the debate and come up with a more thoughtful and measured opinion.  This enables better business decisions which pay off handsomely in the long run.
  • Avoids technical difficulties.  When you aren’t trying to have everyone log into the same virtual space at once, you avoid most of the technical difficulties that are so frustrating with traditional video calls.  In the comfort of your own space you can record your video response and have it uploaded in a way that doesn’t interfere with others.  It’s a more pleasant experience and one that saves immense amounts of time waiting for someone to take themselves off mute or join again after being disconnected.
  • Increase playback speed.  Imagine being able to speed up a video meeting in the same way you do with a podcast or a video.  Well, with asynchronous video meetings, you can.  We can all ingest information much faster than we can express it.  It makes a lot of sense to speed up the consumption of video meetings to get more bang for your buck.  The speaker can take all the time they need to express themselves carefully while the listener can choose the pace for maximum efficiency on their end.  Also, you have the ability to pause, rewind, and re-watch pieces as you go.  It’s a game-changer.
  • Insert other forms of media.  When you aren’t in real-time, you have the ability to insert other rich forms of media including images, videos, graphics, documents, etc.  This helps you illustrate whatever point you’re trying to make.  Often this is much more effective than trying to explain it in words and it leads to much better comprehension and engagement.
  • Documentation.  There’s nothing worse than having to scrub through a full-length video recording of a Zoom meeting to get to a specific part of the conversation.  When you are doing asynchronous video meetings and your conversation is recorded in a modular fashion, it makes it much easier to retrieve information and its context after the fact.  That conversation is memorialized in bite-sized chunks and that’s of significant benefit for anyone coming back to a meeting after the fact.

Those are just a few of the benefits of asynchronous video meetings and it’s what sets us apart as the best Zoom alternative out there.

Try it yourself. Here a talk about anti-fragility in a flower.

The timz.flowers Solution

Here at timz.flowers, we’ve built a platform that can completely transform how you meet with your team.  Asynchronous video meetings are just the foundation.  We’ve also gone above and beyond to reinvent every other part of the process to create a virtual experience like no other.

When you host a discussion in our space, you create a brand-new portal for collaborative thinking and innovation.  The most exciting thing we’ve seen with some of our early clients is how this technology has served to make them more creative than they were before.  This is a whole new form factor and so when you embrace it, you’ll be amazed at what is possible.   

Its ability to manage complex conversations with an elegantly simple interface is something truly special.  And we’ve seen a drastic improvement in our own working processes thanks to the efficiencies that a tool like this can generate.

It’s a great fit for daily check-ins, brainstorming sessions, team discussions, and onboarding procedures as it provides the mix of structure and freedom that these tasks require.  We’re confident that if you dive in and give this a go, you’ll find a Zoom alternative that changes how you view virtual communication.

Zoom meetings are the past.  Asynchronous video meetings are the future.

By reimagining how these meetings take place, you can leverage the power of technology to make your team happier, more energized, and more productive.

What have you got to lose?

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