Remember that time when we were excited about working in our sweatpants and raving about how Zoom let you choose your background? If you’re like me, it’s been a year since you’ve been in ‘work-from-home’ mode and that’s just what it is, you’re working and working and working – but are you productive? We’ve all discussed it at some point that the majority of our days are just meetings and there is absolutely no time to work. Well, guess what, now we got science to prove our point!
Before actual experiments conducted on the effects of all-day video conferencing meetings, experts believed that most people are used to reading non-verbal and body language cues, and with only the face of a person visible, our subconscious minds are stuck in a processing loop. In an article discussing “Zoom Fatigue”, the Economist discusses how looking at your face on a screen for a prolonged period can lead to self-esteem issues and cognitive load for stressed-out employees. Further citing research from the University of Gothenburg, the article claims that Zoom fatigue is more prevalent among women than men, due to various reasons.
In a newly published article, Microsoft claims that hybrid work (work-from-home & work on-site) is the future of work. With that in mind, they researched the effects of having back-to-back video meetings on the human brain and the associated fatigue. In this experiment, 14 people were connected to electroencephalogram (EEG) machines to monitor the electrical activity in their brains. These 14 participants were subjected to multiple day tests where they had 4 back-to-back meetings of 30 mins each and other days where the meetings were interspersed with short breaks where the participants would meditate. What they found is that the stress levels were significantly lower when participants took breaks, and their cognitive functioning & engagement were a lot higher in those cases.
Well lucky for you, Microsoft has also released a solution to make taking these breaks a lot easier and for you to effortlessly focus on your well-being. Although Microsoft released a version that your organization can mandate as policy, we will focus on the version where you can take control of your day and reduce your stress between meetings.
The new rollout for work-from-home to Outlook allows you to either schedule an interval at the start of a meeting or the end of it. So if you quickly set up an hour-long meeting, it is automatically trimmed to 55 minutes so that you and your meeting attendees have time to go get water, stretch, or simply disconnect from a previous meeting.
- Open Outlook
- Navigate to the Settings gear icon
- Select Calendar -> Events and Invitations
- Check the “Shorten duration for all events” button
- Get some time back in your day!
As more companies start adopting a hybrid or complete work from home structure, they will start looking into retaining their talent and promoting healthy remote working etiquette. If you have seen other technology solutions (no matter how small) that make life easier, do let me know and I can share them with our other readers.
Fount of wisdom, insufferable know it all, make it go away are just some of the phrases used to define Melwyn. When he is not at his Consulting job, he spends his time reading about technology and current affairs.