My LinkedIn post, 7 Dec 2021
Have online meetings affected your perspective of height and status?
I recently attended a physical gathering where most people hadn’t seen each other for nearly two years, except on screen. Real life was evidently a sudden reminder of our differences in stature, as several people commented on my height in relation to theirs.
Pre-pandemic, I was very used to this. Being “vertically challenged”, I’d spent a lot of my professional life looking up at people. Petiteness has its advantages, but it can also be irritating e.g. getting squashed on crowded trains, or, worse, ignored by busy bartenders!
But in the past two years I can’t recall a single mention of anyone’s height in the hundreds of virtual meetings I’ve attended. The online world has literally been a leveller.
What benefits could this have for the distribution of power in organisations and society?
Studies have shown that taller men earn more money. This seems to be the case for women, too, although apparently you also need to be slim! Greater height has been linked across cultures to increased social status. With height comes power. CEOs of big companies have, to date, generally been taller than most of the population.
Might all that be changing in the world of online work?
How has your awareness of height and status shifted?