At the business networking meeting I attend each week, we were recently talking about what we’ll do when we are allowed to meet up in person again. The group started just before lockdown last year, so we had a few face-to-face meetings before we were obliged to reorganise and meet on Zoom.
Those first few meetings were held over breakfast at a hotel. We’d gather together just before 7am and were usually finished by 9am, though some of us would then order more coffee and continue the conversations. Essentially, though, the meetings took place outside the business day.
Then, in the first lockdown, last March, we started meeting on Zoom. I think we were reeling from the shock of an entirely new lifestyle, working from home, pivoting our businesses and generally coming to terms with “the new normal”. Most people seemed to think it was appropriate to take things more easily and we started meeting at 9am for an hour or so. After all, there was no hotel breakfast involved and, since no one was going to be caught up in unexpected traffic, we could expect everyone to arrive promptly.
Relatively soon, though, we decided to put the meeting forward to 8am, and so it has remained. In fact, we can join the session from about 7:50. And we’re usually all done and dusted by 9:15.
Now, we’re discussing whether we will ever go back to 7am meetings.
A lot of the group members say they don’t want to start that early. Some have pointed out that networking is actually a very valid part of the business activity – the group has kept several of the businesses alive this last year – so it should be incorporated into the normal business day rather than being stuffed into an awkward space beforehand, as if it were something we were slightly ashamed of.
Personally, though, I like mornings and I’d be happy to see the meeting start at 7am, even on Zoom. I used to thoroughly enjoy walking across the deserted town and catching the first bus from the bus station. You see all sorts of things in the early morning half-light that you just don’t see at other times.
It’s true that I don’t get up early every day, but I have no great problem with days that demand 5 o’clock starts. And, when it’s possible, I much prefer to have a walk before the general populace is up and about.
I think all the photos on this post were taken in the last week, before 7:30 in the morning, when the world was quiet and still and there was time to notice things.