• Events Team

'zoom fatigue' and the importance of Face-To-Face interaction.




During our staff meeting, I presented my team with an article, to spark some healthy debate. The article,

cleverly written by Libby Sander (TED ideas), highlights the worries of zoom and how ‘Zoom Fatigue’ is very much prevalent in our current climate. Read the full article here: ‘https://ideas.ted.com/zoom-fatigue-is-real-heres-why-video-calls-are-so-draining/


Whereas I thought this would encourage an enthralling debate: Zoom vs. Face-To-Face. It turns out, we were all feeling the same way. Although zoom allowed us to see each other during lock down and keep ourselves up to date, it didn’t help much when it came down to productivity and creativity. Dr Linda Kaye, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, explains why we are experiencing this fatigue when in theory, we should be feeling more positive with the fact we can still get work done and interact effectively. ‘https://www.psychreg.org/zoom-fatigue/’.

In short, we could be experiencing zoom fatigue for the following reasons:

· Our camera view is enhancing our self-awareness to a greater level, enforcing the idea we should make additional self- presentation efforts than if we were interacting in the real world.

· Zoom does not allow room for the social cues we use in day-to-day life, which we might not even be aware of. Therefore, we have to put in additional attention to everyone’s behaviours to monitor interactions effectively.

· Without the need to travel, there is more capacity to schedule meetings and live chats within our lives. We may be over scheduling with the assumption that we should, as we have more time.

This is the main reason why we should not abandon all hope with face- to-face meetings. These interactions are vital in allowing businesses to thrive in their meetings and brainstorm creative ideas as a team, not as five people in different houses with a screen and internet connection between them. Meeting in person allows for open collaboration and encouragement of each other’s ideas. Meeting warm ups are an imperative part of engaging your team and this is easier to do if you are in the same room. This article lists 6 ways to kick off creative meetings:

https://www.ideo.com/blog/6-ways-to-kick-off-creative-meetings’.

There are a few main reasons why we should continue to meet face-face, if it is safe:

1. As mentioned before, social cues and body language is such an important part of effective communication. Non-verbal communication is how we read between the lines of what is being said and plays a huge role in forming our response.

2. Flow of conversations is what opens us up to new and fresh ideas, in a meeting. In person, a conversation is less laboured and enables someone to bounce around between points and change the direction of discussion.

3. Although our technology is as advanced as it has been, it is still reckless in reliability at times. In person, you are not faced with camera/mic problems, connection issues and members dropping in and out of the meeting.

4. It is easier to build relationships in person, than virtually. Even before the pandemic, businesspersons would use Skype to make initial contact and planning. However, at some point, someone will travel to see the other in person before proceeding to contracts and deals.

5. It is a lot easier to brainstorm with a whiteboard, facing your team. This allows the team to ensure that his or her idea has been correctly implied and that everyone understands your point.

6. People conduct themselves differently; as meeting in person, in your own office or venue has the air of professionalism. Being in your own home, we unconsciously conduct ourselves differently. We are more laid back in how we act, body language and what we choose to wear.

https://www.inc.com/andrew-griffiths/10-reasons-face-to-face-meetings-are-more-important-than-we-think.html

Understandably, some people may not be ready to go back to normal interactions. We are living in uncertain times where regulations can change weekly and we have become cautious of everyone around us. Therefore, it is vital that these meetings are conducted safely to put your staff at ease.

· Wear masks

· Socially distance / hire external meeting rooms to ensure plenty of space

· Wash / Sanitise regularly

· If you book a venue, ask to see their COVID-19 policy

· Cut down on paper

· Take initiative

The Global Fleet produced an article that details how to hold safe face-to-face meetings and when these are necessary.

https://www.globalfleet.com/en/safety/smart-mobility/europe/features/covid-19-10-tips-safe-face-face-meetings?a=API07&t%5B0%5D=Coronavirus&t%5B1%5D=COVID-19&curl=1

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