Does constant video conferencing harm workplace well-being and teamwork effectiveness?
Since COVID-19 due to furlough, the popularity of video calls has increased dramatically. It seems like a great tool for staff business meetings, to keep teams connected and motivated. Obviously there are advantages in trying to keep workers connected and informed whilst they are working from home.
“So why do many workers find these video calls so stressful?”
Seeing yourself on screen during video calls can make you feel self-conscious, this leads to impaired concentration. Hiding the image of yourself can help you feel more focused.
Video calls require more concentration than face-to-face chat. It is much harder to process body language and facial expressions on video calls. People also appear to change their voices and speak differently, as if they are performing on stage. All this is exhausting and brings on ‘Zoom fatigue.’
Some women in particular feel the need to be camera ready, Adopting the role of a breakfast TV presenter, having full make up and perfect hair.
Another concern is that others can actually see into your home. At least parts of the room you are calling from. A concern might be that colleagues can see snippets of your house. This is a double edged sword, some may wish to show off their expensive wallpaper and the latest Farrow and Ball paint colour. Others may be anxious about judgement being passed on their choice of decor. Almost everyone will feel obliged to make the area smart and tidy.
“Not everyone seems to know that Zoom now allows you to set a picture or video as a background so that people don't see your house unless you want them to. Skype does the same, as does Microsoft Teams”.
What can be done to inspire staff working from home and keep them motivated?
Senior Leadership Teams and managers should ask themselves;
Is this Zoom meeting really necessary?
Would a one-to-one chat in a phone call suffice?
Would an email with salient points to discuss be better?
It is well documented that emailing staff asking for feedback on work projects is much less stressful for them and inspires a more comprehensive reply than questions asked during video conferencing.
Online meetings require instant opinions and responses, whereas given time to consider and maybe research ideas would motivate staff to give a more measured considered response and therefore a more inspired solution.