Making Video Calls Cool Again

“Ok everyone let’s get started. Just going to share my screen real quick. Great, can you see the slides? No? Okay hold on a sec. How about now? Can someone give me a thumbs up? People are shaking their heads. Weird, it was working earlier. Let’s try this oh whoops that’s my email ok-“ tweet from @DocAroundThClok.

Welcome to the ‘dynamic’ new way of working and/or learning (hee hee). If you’re doing either (or both) this year, no doubt you’re well familiar with the sequence above, as video calls and meetings occupy our time, our living rooms, our productivity and sometimes even our patience…

It’s difficult to counter the convenience of working from home – you can literally roll out of bed, brush your hair, don a jacket, put that screen filter on and ‘attend’ work via video chat, presenting professionally, and ready to go. “Hard. At. Work.” The truth is however, whilst these ‘hangouts’ and video meetings might give us the opportunity to work remotely, independently and uninterrupted throughout the day when the camera is off, when the camera is on, their efficiency and the impact of attending meeting after meeting on our wellbeing, is still up for discussion…

Firstly – let’s talk about how often you’re participating in these video chats. How many of these meetings are you a ‘guest’ of each day? And how long are they scheduled for? Are you required to have your camera ‘on’ the whole time? A quick but relevant digression: two-hour university lectures typically ‘break’ at the 45-50-minute mark, for 10 minutes, to give students the opportunity to move around, visit the bathroom, eat something and socialise. This is done to prevent learning fatigue / burnout and to re-energise attention spans.

So, what are we doing to prevent potential burnout from video meetings? 

Also bear in mind that oftentimes these ‘quick-catch-ups’ are scheduled back-to-back, run over time, deviate from an agenda and depending on our time zone, can be scheduled at the most inconvenient of hours. i.e. Teams in different time zones might be particularly susceptible to video meeting fatigue, given members are likely to be in different mental and emotional stages of their day. Think about how you feel and what your energy levels are like at 9.15am versus 4.15 in the afternoon. You’ve a significant difference in mindset. So, whilst ultimately convenient, video meetings can also ‘open the door’ to a lot of frustration, exhaustion and as a result – deficits in productivity and wellbeing.

Positively, we’ve developed an extension to minimise the negative natural ‘by-products’ of video conferencing, and in turn, increase digital wellness. Mindfulmeets allows video chat participants to display their name, their role and their time zone (amongst other inclusions) – encouraging meeting attendees and schedulers to be cognizant of others’ work/life commitments. It also prompts users to develop, display and stick to meeting agendas, and in turn, stave off video meeting fatigue (and, let’s be honest – annoyance).

Navigating video meeting technology is, as with most things in life, all about being mindful, focused, and empathetic. All things that we at Mindfulmeets are just delighted to be able to assist with.

What’s your biggest frustration about video meetings? Or, care to share the biggest faux-pas you’ve seen during a video meet-up? Funny and anonymous stories only!