Video calling apps have helped work continue as normal for most of us which is great. Our team has realised that we can work as effectively if not better than being in the office; with less distractions helping us to focus more. In fact, Gadgets will be switching to a 2/5 working from home day once life returns to normal.
Having said this, many of us are finding this to be extremely exhausting, which is understandable. There are a few downsides to video calling, which make us appreciate actual meetings. Here’s a little help on how you can make it better for yourself and reduce video calling fatigue.
We’re in our homes, in comfortable clothing, surrounded by family and friends yet we’re more stressed and tired than ever. There are many plausible reasons and explanations for this increased tiredness: technical errors – from freezing screens to lagged voices, echoes, having to deal with half a dozen heads staring back at you.
From morning till night we’re constantly calling via video call – internal team meetings, external meetings with clients, keeping in touch with family and friends.
Why is it more tiring than meeting in person or a regular phone call though?
Is video chat harder to deal with? Why is it any different to meeting people in the flesh? The reasons are many;
1. It’s all about reading the body language
We need to pay more attention to non-verbal cues, facial expressions, tone, pitch and body language – doing this through video requires more energy than doing so in ”real life” situations. It feels as though we never truly relax in the conversation as we would naturally.
2. Silence is Golden
In a real life conversation we naturally take pauses, a few seconds to think before speaking. When face to face we recognise this and can understand that the other person is thinking and not frozen. When on a video call we become worried thinking that we’re left speaking to ourselves due to a lack of connection – Just as your co-worker or client has a 5 second moment of silence we become anxious ”Are you still there, hello?! hello?!”
This tends to make people uncomfortable and feel that they have no time to stop and think as they would in a normal meeting.
3. That Big Brother Feeling
In video calls we know that everybody is watching us – this is also true when meeting face to face however this tends to feel more natural as we are not constantly looking at each other. There comes an increase in pressure to perform because you feel you are constantly being looked at and waiting to say something.
4. The Man in the Mirror
How many of us are guilty of looking at our own faces when we are chatting in video meetings? This is completely unnatural, we are not made to know what we look like when we communicate and this can be extremely distracting, and make us feel more self conscious than we already are. Just imagine we get so used to this we need to place a mirror in front of us whilst talking to clients in the real world.
5. One Size Fits All
Just imagine meeting clients, partying with friends, socialising with relatives, chatting with colleagues in the same room over and over again.
“Imagine if you go to a bar, and in the same bar you talk with your professors, meet your parents or date someone, isn’t it weird? That’s what we’re doing now” – Gianpiero Petriglieri
All different scenarios, and different social events normally happen in different places, now we are confined to the same place, the same app, – different people yes, but constantly in the same place.
”But when I’m Zooming my friends, for example, shouldn’t that relax me?”
Why are we also tired when it comes to meeting friends and family? We feel a sense of guilt because we tend to dread these virtual catch ups. What is the reason? Aren’t these meant to be fun? We tend to feel this because it is a scheduled meeting, and seen like a meeting as opposed to getting a break. These are the tools we’re used to using for work so it doesn’t feel like leisure time. Not to mention having to deal with 15 people talking at once, good luck trying to get a word in.
So how can we alleviate video calling fatigue?
1. Limit video calling to those which are really necessary
2. Cameras do not always need to be on. Employers should make the video optional, not everyone enjoys or wants to be seen.
3. Keep your screen tilted to the side and not looking directly at you – this could aid concentration.
4. Share files (Example: Google Docs) and send detailed noted in an email as opposed to video calling and providing information overload in a couple of minutes.
5. Catch up with colleagues, employees, clients – speak about stuff unrelated to work- make the call less serious and more personal as we would in real life.
6. Take breaks in between video meetings, walk around, exercise, chat to someone face to face.
Overall we can say that one can’t replace the other – a life with just video calls would never work without meeting in person. It is not the same, sometimes you need to build relationships in person, face to face on a desk with a good coffee 🙂 it could bring about numerous benefits – however as we are finding out there are a number of meetings which could be done from home over video or regular phone call without the need to get in the car adding to the traffic and pollution issue.
How do you feel about video calls? Are they doing your head in? Or have they started to grow on you?!
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