Recently, I have been trying to avoid working after 10 PM and go to bed if possible. I feel less chronically tired, but I still feel more tired than before the coronavirus. I think I'm just getting older, but one big difference is that I have a lot of online meetings. Yesterday and today, I had two days of meetings that started at 2.30 PM and lasted until 6.00 PM. Yesterday I also had a two-hour meeting with European researchers at 9 PM.
Before the corona pandemic, we did not have so many meetings. So I think the absolute number of meetings is exhausting, but this concise paper says that there is also exhaustion from online meetings using zooms and so on.
Connecting Through Technology During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Avoiding “Zoom Fatigue” https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cyber.2020.29188.bkw?journalCode=cyber#.YSj0oIfXe38.twitter\
In December 2019, before the corona pandemic was in full swing, there were 10 million Zoom users. By April 2000, when the outbreak became global, the number had increased 30-fold to 300 million. There was no debate about how ordinal people used it, and one tool rapidly became the norm. So many people feel online meetings like me. There are several possible causes of online fatigue. For example, when one presenter is giving a verbal explanation, several people chatting and discussing something else seems to baffle the thinking. It can also be frightening to see an enlarged face on your screen or to have a conversation with prolonged eye contact.
The paper proposes six possible solutions.
- Shifting our gaze naturally by looking at the camera rather than making eye contact with the screen.
- Hold online meetings in a simple, background location for the person you are zooming in on.
- Mute yourself when you are not speaking.
- When you do speak, speak a little louder, as if you were speaking in a larger venue.
- Don't do other work, such as processing emails.
- Take a break from screens between meetings.
I'm a lot more used to online meetings than last year, and I've taken a lot of precautions myself. The countries and professions of the people I've spoken to this week are diverse, and I can't compare them to before the outbreak started. At the same time, I'm hearing about all sorts of exciting business opportunities, and I'm talking to friends I haven't spoken to in years. Online meetings are tiring, but the benefits outweigh them, and I don't think they will ever disappear.
I'm told that the British are less likely than other Europeans to kiss on the cheek, a social custom developed to avoid previous infections. The Japanese have been wearing masks since before the outbreak of the Spanish flu many years ago. When a social culture is lost, or new culture is created, it is a bit of resistance, but I think it is better to get used to it as soon as possible. That's why I don't want to reduce the number of online meetings.