“Zoomers” are feeling stressed, but this time it’s not menu anxiety that’s to blame

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Heard the one about Zoomers short circuiting over a menu? Well, that’s not what this is about. I’m not talking about “Zoomers” per se, but ZOOM users. Which is all of us, regrettably.

The virtual meeting, once a novelty, has become somewhat of an unwelcome and permanent fixture in our lives. As if we needed a study to tell us, recent research suggests digital meetings come with a hidden toll on our well-being, known as “Zoom fatigue.”

Let’s be real for a moment: meetings always sucked. If anything, what this study tells us is that they’re just more convenient at sucking.

Anyway, if you’re anything like the rest of us sinners, you’re probably in a meeting right now pretending to pay attention while you read this on your other monitor. Here are the deets:

Austrian researchers, armed with EEG and EKG monitors, embarked on an investigation into the physiological impacts of video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Their findings revealed a stark reality: video calls demand heightened levels of concentration and attention, triggering an increase in stress-inducing brain frequencies and a variance in heart rate that signifies fatigue. This isn’t just a feeling; it’s a scientifically observed phenomenon.

Interestingly, the study’s participants were university students in a controlled environment, which in theory would skew the results. Nevertheless, it underscores a universal truth: virtual communication, though convenient, is still as much of a drag as sitting in a stuffy board room.

For businesses grappling with the virtual versus real-world communication dilemma, the solution lies in flexibility. Utilizing a mix of collaboration tools like Teams, Slack, and email can reduce the overload of real-time video interactions. When possible, meetings should be organized and kept to a minimum.

Open dialogue with employees about their communication preferences is crucial. This approach acknowledges the variations in individual working styles, with some finding their stride in video meetings and others preferring to hide under a rock (like me – I’m that person).

When video calls are necessary, brevity and spacing are key. A schedule free from back-to-back virtual meetings, interspersed with adequate breaks, can have a positive impact on productivity – much moreso than “daily scrums,” yuck.

In conclusion, while the era of the webcam is far from over, it’s about finding the right blend that keeps teams not just functioning, but thriving (I recommend a nice robusta. And tea for the weirdos who don’t drink coffee).

Need help picking the right tech tools for your team? We’re here whenever you need us.

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