An Australian start-up is tackling an impactful consequence of our post-COVID virtual world – online video conferencing fatigue – with the launch of a free world-first Chrome browser extension designed to enhance virtual meetings for real humans.
With the sudden onset of virtual meetings, users worldwide are now experiencing the negative impacts of increased cognitive demands. The inability to read body language cues, intense focus on conversation and sustained eye contact are key factors contributing to the mental exhaustion.
Mindfulmeets is the only Chrome extension designed to enhance video calls by putting the end-users’ digital wellness first through mindful interactions, and is compatible with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.
Co-Founder of Mindfulmeets, Ben Flux said the extension was born out of a need to foster further mindfulness amongst his own team.
“Having a team situated globally, we were needing to navigate different time zones, varying lifestyles and the day-to-day realities of working remote,” said Mr. Flux.
“Our extension considers the way we operate and live as humans as well as the value of time.
“Mindfulmeets focuses on the user and the impact that technology has on them and is designed to improve digital wellness with enhancements that increase productivity as well as the enjoyment of professional and personal video meetings.”
Research conducted by Mindfulmeets to identify the top frustrations experienced by remote working revealed overrun and unstructured meetings, the lack of quality social interaction and the quantity of meetings were key pain points.
The extension currently includes the capability to:
- Add an agenda to a meeting;
- See the profile of all attendees (including their position);
- Share emojis and gifs;
- See the time zones of each attendee, and
- Gracefully exit and enter meetings with helpful prompters visible to everyone on the call
With video conferencing established as a new norm, Mindfulmeets Co-Founder Karina Castex believes the reality of mental fatigue poses a real threat to the mental health of users and the productiveness of businesses and education providers.
“Without face-to-face interactions, we’re seeing an increase in people feeling overwhelmed, irritable and anxious – presenting a challenge to most modern workplaces,” said Ms Castex.
“If our team was experiencing this, we knew many others would be too. While a free and simple to download extension won’t address all the impacts, we hope Mindfulmeets contributes to making a difference to the digital wellness of users.”
Susan Long, registered Psychologist and Clinical Services Manager with Workplace Wellness Australia – a leading provider of proactive employee assistance programs – agrees that a mentally healthy workplace recognises the unique needs of its employees.
“Moving to working online and offsite from the physical workplace increased a sense of isolation and aloneness for many people,” said Ms Long.
“While we adapted and have done a great job adjusting to online communication, there is a significant amount of information that we miss not being face-to-face with each other.
“Our sense of connection and feeling heard is often communicated by the nuances of our physical movements, eye contact and subtle environment. It is difficult to receive all of this information when there are a number of participants in an online meeting, and we are unable to contextualise what we can see to the person’s body and environment. This can cause the brain to work harder than it would typically in a face-to-face interaction causing people to feel fatigued.
“For many workplaces, the move to online highlighted the importance of checking in with their colleagues and employees who lived alone or were isolated. The pandemic caused many workplaces to relate to their peers and consider how each other were going.
“Staying well is important to work effectively and workplaces that can introduce a more psychologically appropriate format of how meetings progress are invaluable.”
Mindfulmeets is available to download now and is compatible with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.
To download the free extension, visit: https://www.getmindfulmeets.com/
Mindfulmeets is a thoughtful browser extension to enhance video meetings by putting the end-users’ digital wellness first. The concept came about organically – having spent hours in video meetings and not feeling so great, productive, or motivated afterwards, the Mindfulmeets team designed the extension to inject ‘health’ and ‘mindfulness’ into this new and permanent way of ‘remote’ working.
Mindfulmeets aims to deliver mindful video conferencing enhancements to increase productivity and digital wellness for everyone.
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