Online meetings have become a standard part of the workday for many people since the coronavirus lockdowns. Instead of making the long trip to the office, employees sit behind their laptops at home. But is Zoom or Teams good for your well-being? Or does it have a negative impact on your business? new world I looked at what science says about this.
Does meeting online lead to poor communication?
Yes, often. Online meetings seem like an unnatural way to communicate for many people. This is clear from the recent survey conducted by psychologist Svea Lobstorf from the University of Hamburg. Of the 349 participants, 35% reported that they experienced communication problems during online meetings.
The brain also appears to process information differently during video calls compared to a physical conversation. For example, neuroscientist Joy Hirsch and her colleagues from Yale University in the US saw that so-called theta waves in the brain – which are associated with, among other things, the perception of faces – are weaker during a video call than during a physical conversation.
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The downside of video calls is that you’re not looking directly into each other’s eyes, says behavioral scientist Sara Bogels of Radboud University in Nijmegen. Additionally, in online meetings, it can be difficult to determine when it is your turn to speak. This leads to longer pauses during conversations. “Especially if you’re zooming with multiple people at the same time, you can’t clearly look at someone to give them a turn,” Bogles says.
It is unclear whether difficult communication also affects the social well-being of meeting participants. However, research into physical interactions conducted by behavioral scientist Namkeje Kudenberg of the University of Groningen shows that long periods of rest are often associated with a decreased sense of connectedness.
What does Zoom do for your focus?
Zoom or group work makes it more difficult to focus on the conversation. For example, research by Hirsch and her colleagues shows that the dorsal parietal region of the brain is less active during a video call than during a real conversation. This brain area plays an important role in attention.
“It’s not very surprising that people pay less attention when they’re on Zoom,” says behavioral scientist Stefan van der Stijchel from Utrecht University. He says that attention is fleeting and must be constantly attracted. During a physical meeting, there are people around you who are constantly giving you incentives. This is less so with a video meeting.
This is also demonstrated by a study conducted by behavioral scientists Nina Nurmi and Satu Pakarinen from Aalto University in Finland. Using heart rate measurements and questionnaires, they discovered that people are often less motivated during an online meeting, especially when the cameras are off. So your attention is less attracted.
What do video calls do to your card?
An online meeting is more stressful than a physical meeting. It’s also more tiring than calling or emailing. This is evidenced by questionnaires conducted by psychologists Hadar Nesher-Shoshan and Wilken Wert from the University of Mannheim. What is this com. zoomfatigue It’s not entirely clear yet.
On the one hand, connectivity problems can drain a lot of energy. With Zoom, it’s hard to know what someone means or when you’re allowed to speak. That can be very tiring, Bogles says.
On the other hand, concentration problems are also a possible cause, says van der Steckel. During a physical meeting, your attention is always drawn, but with Zoom you have to work hard to get that focus. He says that requires a lot of energy.
Nurmi and Pakarinen think so The com-id of this app is com.zoomfatique It occurs due to the so-called Passive fatigue. This is a psychological phenomenon in which a lack of stimuli leads to sleepiness.
Are you performing worse because of Zoom?
not necessarily. Despite connectivity issues, online meetings seem to have no impact on collaboration. Research by behavioral scientist Stephanie Balter and her colleagues from Standford University in the US shows that duos perform as well on different tasks when on video calls as they do on video calls. face to face We are.
However, online meetings can have an impact on your productivity later in the day. Nurmi and Pakarinen’s research shows that people are worse at mentally switching between tasks after using Zoom. This appears to be related to the fatigue that arises during online meetings. Fortunately, this does not seem to apply to people who are enthusiastic and passionate about their work.
Additionally, many people are multitasking while Zooming and collaborating. Whether this is good or bad depends on the type of meeting, says van der Steckel. “If you have to pay attention to the meeting, multitasking is not a good idea. “It’s complicated, tiring and exhausting because you can only focus your attention on one place at a time,” he says. “But a meaningless meeting that you can also miss is, of course, great.” Via Zoom.” If you don’t have to pay attention, you might as well respond to some emails.
How do you get the best results from an online meeting?
Research by Nesher-Shoshan and Wirt shows that the size and duration of an online meeting does not make a significant difference to the quality of consultation. What can you do to improve the meeting experience?
To reduce communication problems, it’s important to clearly agree on who can speak and when, Bogles says. For example, it may be helpful to appoint a leader for the discussion.
It is also important that you feel present at the meeting. This makes focusing easier, van der Steckel says. A large screen and good headphones can help with this. Also remove potential distractions like your phone, and don’t sit too close to your keyboard. Then you can do nothing else.
Van der Stigchel also recommends clearing your mind before the meeting. For example, go for a walk, just as you would when you went to a conference room. Once you attend the meeting, it helps to take an active stance. For example, keep a pen and paper handy to take notes.
Van der Stigchel has another tip for people who have difficulty sitting still. “I also do a lot of walking meetings,” he says. “Then the camera and microphone must of course be turned off.”
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