When the pandemic first hit, video-meeting technology, like Zoom and Teams, saved the day for many businesses. Then video-meeting fatigue hit and everyone started complaining, saying they were tied to their computers because people were holding too many meetings. Fast forward to a little more than two years later and people are now saying they have physical ailments from their numerous daily video meetings.
In fact, 81% of employees reported they felt “some physical ailment” at the end of a long, video-filled workday, according to a survey from Cisco “The data behind video meeting fatigue and how to combat it.” The physical ailments reported by the 1,403 participants included:
- neck and shoulder pain (37%)
- headaches (31%)
- eye strain or blurry vision (31%)
- muscle tightness (22%)
- general aches and pains (19%)
- ringing ears (12%)
- sore throat or voice hoarseness (11%), and feeling jittery (10%).
So for those who say video meeting fatigue is malarky, this provides evidence that it isn’t and that it carries with it physical issues.
Workers need better technology
Why so many issues?
The reason is a good portion of the workforce doesn’t have the proper equipment or work setup.
So what can employers do to combat this problem before these physical issues turn into big medical problems sending your medical claims skyrocketing?
Survey respondents said two things need to be improved:
- Culture changes around meetings, and
- Better meeting technology.
Ninety-three percent of respondents said they spend two or more hours a day in video meetings. And the upper echelon of management probably spends more than that on video meetings. Not to mention the fact that 56% said they spend more time in video meetings since they started working from home.
But these technological shortcomings that worsen video-meeting fatigue can all be improved with a little effort. According to the study, the shortcomings include:
- using laptops primarily for meetings (69%)
- lacking proper technology to collaborate when working remotely (54%)
- using laptops with no peripherals (45%)
- struggling with background noise (37%)
- complaining about poor sound quality (34%), and
- complaining about poor video quality (32%).
Employers can help fix current problems and avoid future ones by providing employees with the proper resources needed for video meetings. It’s also important to educate employees on how to work effectively and safely in our new virtual environment. Investing in the right technology now can help save money in the end by preventing future medical claims. And finally, not every meeting needs to be a video meeting. Re-evaluate the number of meetings you hold and try to eliminate back-to-back meetings. And if the meeting is long, give five-minute breaks every half hour.
Now we aren’t saying video meetings are bad. They aren’t. Just the number of meetings held in a day and the technology used can lead to negative outcomes.
Video meetings are also good because they help build connections.
The study found that people who regularly meet with colleagues via video are:
- 2.4 times more likely to say it’s easier to collaborate
- 2.6 times more likely to say they’ve experienced increased empathy from co-workers
- 1.5 times more likely to say it’s easier to connect with co-workers, and
- happier and less likely to leave their jobs.
So, consider doing a short survey to see if any employees are experiencing video fatigue and the physical ailments that go with it. Then evaluate the technology they use and come up with a strategy on how you can improve it.