You’re Not Imagining it, Video Calls ARE Stressful

    January 17, 2024

    You know that feeling when you’ve spent way too much time in virtual meetings, and you’d trade your favorite coffee mug for some real face-to-face interaction? That’s called Zoom fatigue.

    It turns out there’s scientific evidence to back up what we’ve all been feeling.

    A recent study from Austrian universities sheds light on how video conferencing alters our physiology and impacts our cognitive performance. Brain scans revealed an increase in high-frequency brainwaves associated with intense concentration and stress during online meetings compared to in-person interactions. Essentially, our brains work overtime to decipher facial expressions, navigate the awkward silences, and maintain focus through pixelated interfaces.

    Furthermore, the study observed changes in heart rate variability, indicating a sustained state of fatigue throughout Zoom sessions. While the context—university students on campus—may differ from your corporate environment, the core message is clear: video conferencing has a distinct physiological and psychological impact.

    So, how do we embrace the undeniable benefits of video communication while safeguarding our well-being? Here are some strategies businesses can implement:

    Embrace Asynchronous Communication: Utilize tools like Slack, Teams, or even email for routine updates and discussions. This asynchronous approach allows employees to process information at their own pace and respond when best suits them, reducing the pressure of real-time interaction.

    Prioritize Real-Time, But Wisely: When video meetings are unavoidable, choose them strategically. Opt for in-person interactions whenever possible, fostering the invaluable connection and energy that only face-to-face communication can offer.

    Listen to Your Team: Foster open dialogue about communication preferences. Some may thrive in video calls, while others may find them draining. Respect individual styles and offer options like phone calls or written reports to encourage flexible and inclusive communication.

    Keep it Short and Sweet: Remember, less is often more. Schedule concise, focused video meetings and avoid back-to-back calls to allow for mental breaks and rejuvenation.

    Embrace the Tools, but Don’t Be Ruled by Them: Technology should facilitate work, not define it. Encourage mindful tech use, setting boundaries and scheduling “offline” time to disconnect and recharge.

    Remember, Zoom fatigue is a sign of our hyperconnected reality. By implementing these strategies, businesses can foster a more balanced and sustainable communication culture, one that values both productivity and well-being.

    Ready to recharge your remote workforce and unleash their full potential? We can help. Contact us today and let’s explore tech solutions that keep your team connected, engaged, and energized.

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