- Video conferencing has many undeniable benefits to a company.
- One of the side effects of this surge in usage is “zoom fatigue.”
- Getting used to video conferencing won’t be easy, but it is a must.
The days of meetings in the office could be coming to a close, because when was the last time anyone has had an actual face-to-face discussion, especially because of this COVID-19 pandemic? These days, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Skype, Slack, Discord, and other online conferencing applications are what it’s all about.
The all-encompassing video call is one of the key means for companies big and small to function without the limits of physical space. But what does this mean for the individual who now has the lines between his home and his work blurred?
Improving productivity through video calls
It’s no question that online conferencing has become a primary tool — even becoming one of the most basic needs — to operate in the current situation.
The most obvious benefit is that online conferencing negates the need to leave the house or deal with traffic (which isn’t even the biggest problem, these days). Projects and sales no longer have to be put on hold because employees can remain working from the comfort of their own home. In the long run, costs and hours spent during the commute will be significantly reduced. Video calls have also shown to improve employee attendance due to its simplicity and convenience. In fact, a 2013 study found that 94% of video conferencing users believed it to be a push towards increased efficiency and productivity. All in all, teams that integrate video conferencing into their operations gain an edge over companies that don’t.
Saving time through video interviews
One overlooked fact that employers should consider is the potential of these apps to assist in finding a candidate even when employment hopefuls are at home. Using recruitment platforms like Recruitday, companies can continue the talent search and streamline it further by opting to use video calls to conduct interviews.
Applicants that need to be interviewed can simply be added to a call and can hop on at a scheduled time. Through online video conferencing, applicants can show up to their job interviews almost as if nothing had changed. But there are more benefits to consider other than just scheduling. Online interviews can save money for both parties involved, removing any transportation costs and hours spent on multiple interviews - not to mention waiting for late candidates to show up because of traffic. It also increases efficiency by enabling recruiters to interview more applicants in a given time period.
The rise of Zoom fatigue
Embracing digital solutions like recruitment platforms and video-conferencing also opens up an international applicant pool for employers (assuming they have the means to operate remotely), thus diversifying their workforce. Many companies and media outlets are becoming more aware of the benefits. They are even going so far as to normalize the idea and offering solutions to improve an applicant’s online interview performance.
In light of the virus, these apps have seen a massive increase in sales and downloads compared to pre-quarantine records, though this should be obvious to many.
A new phenomenon coined “zoom fatigue” is one side-effect of this uptick. People are finding themselves stressed out by the increased social pressures induced by online calls. Jeremy Bailenson, the head of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, states that the video call puts participants in an unnatural position by being up close and personal with an enlarged face with extended periods of eye contact. The inclusion of a filter between callers predisposes discomfort. Even moreso, by being stuck on a computer all day and at the same time participating in a heavily structured social convention, a person is likely to become agitated. The lack of body language and social cues to gauge the way an interaction is going also affects the way people act around video calls.
Another problem with video calls might be its blurring of the line between work life and home life. When things were normal, one could go to work and go home without any worry of the two intersecting. But currently, an overlap can easily happen and the employee is forced to enter a work state of mind in their place of relaxation.
Creating boundaries between work life and home life
Fortunately, these downsides can be easily mitigated. By learning to schedule one’s work time, they can achieve something close to normalcy by allocating time to focus and time to relax.
One can go so far as to establishing a workspace and permitting themselves to work in only that one location. It can also help to opt out of using video whenever there’s a conference call, or to just minimize the amount of meetings outright. In the same way with regular, face-to-face meetings, you need to consider whether or not whatever you need to discuss truly needs a full, 1-hour meeting or can simply be told or explained through an email.
Any way one views it, video calls are something employers must learn to deal with in the new normal. It may be an unavoidable reality, but that does not mean it has to take over personal lives. A little practice, adjustment, and scheduling can go a long way to adapt to this new way of communication as we progress through this global crisis.