Now that many of us are either stuck indoors or are unable to meet in person and work in an office for the foreseeable future, good remote working practices will be more vital than ever. For Boards, management teams and committees, this means equipping personnel with all the tools necessary for extensive remote meetings but also being able to maintain the right mindset.
Therefore, with the rise of video calling (particularly on Zoom), its important to realise the effect it has on our minds and the efficiency of meetings. According to researchers, professionals and many others on social media, frequent Zoom meetings lead to increased anxiety, fatigue and therefore inefficiency.
One of the reasons given is that, in a video call, we are so focused on trying to look focused, we get distracted from the content of the meeting altogether. Glancing out the window, looking at your phone or even responding to a member of your household is seen as not paying attention. Of course, this is not how we usually operate in person and is certainly not helpful for productive meetings. Rather, the focus should be on the meeting papers or discussion not about how you are being perceived by others.
Similarly, when on a video call, everyone has a different background often with a funny painting, a strange plant or even their family in. These numerous distracting backgrounds can again divert from the content and purpose of a meeting. As well as this, the variety of visual information we are taking in on a video call, exhausts the brain.
As Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy say “if you’re on a call with five people, you may feel like you’re in five different rooms at once. You can see their furniture, plants, and wallpaper. You might even strain to see what books they have on their shelves. The brain has to process all of these visual environmental cues at the same time. To combat mental fatigue, encourage people to use plain backgrounds (e.g. a poster of a peaceful beach scene), or agree as a group to have everyone who is not talking turn off their video.”
On top of these factors which cause ‘Zoom fatigue’, further on-screen distractions (such as trying to send an email or scrolling through socials) whilst in a video call are both un-productive and tiring on the brain.
Due to the forced increase in the use of Zoom, Fosslien and Duffy suggest switching to phone calls or email: if 4PM rolls around and you’re Zoomed-out but have an upcoming one-on-one, ask the person to switch to a phone call or suggest picking up the conversation later so you can both recharge.
However, a phone call or email is not the most useful or productive solution. That is why Convene’s new Audio Conferencing, combined with the already existing tools, is the perfect solution for remote meetings. Simply schedule a meeting a normal, enable audio-conferencing and ask attendees to join. The meeting host can then control everyone’s screen, point and highlight key information, set actions and tasks and much more.
Check out our last blog to see how Convene compares with Zoom and Microsoft Teams!