Coronavirus Confinement: 5 Reasons Why Meetings Through Zoom Are So Strenuous
For many of us, working from home during the coronavirus crisis has meant spending a lot of time in video meeting apps, like Zoom. The effects of this have taken us by surprise.
Having giant heads that watch us closely for long periods can be unpleasant for many of us. Besides that we can think that we should have fixed our hair or made up or removed our pajamas.
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But why are online meetings more exhausting than face-to-face meetings ?
People feel that they have to make more emotional effort to appear interested, and in the absence of other nonverbal cues, intense concentration on words and sustained eye contact is exhausting.
In-person meetings are not only about exchanging knowledge, they are also important office rituals. Rituals comfort, reassure us, and are essential in buildings to maintain interaction.
5 Reasons Why Meetings Through Zoom Are So Strenuous
Face to face meetings are also important mechanisms for communication ng attitudes and feelings among business partners and colleagues.
Emotions precede and follow all of our behaviors, influencing decision-making management. Often sensitive issues are polled in order to notice subtleties and show empathy.
Why are Zoom meetings different?
Our brains can only consciously do a few things at a time, because we have limited working memory.
In contrast, we can process much more information unconsciously, as we do with body language.
Online meetings increase our cognitive load because several of its characteristics occupy a large part of our conscious capacity.
1. We miss a lot of non-verbal communication
Our feelings and attitudes are largely transmitted with non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, the tone and register of the voice, gestures, posture and the distance between the communicators.
In a face-to-face meeting we process these signals largely automatically and at the same time we can hear the speaker.
But in a video conversation, we need to work harder to process the non-verbal signals. Paying more attention to this consumes a lot of energy. Our minds are together when our bodies feel that they are not.
This dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting.
Also, in face-to-face meetings we rely heavily on nonverbal cues to make emotional judgments, such as analyzing whether a statement is credible.
We automatically receive information, such as whether a person moves nervously.
Relying predominantly on verbal information to infer emotions is exhausting.
2. What if the children get into the meeting?
We feel anxious about our remote workspace and control events that could make us look bad to our colleagues.
Will my background look bad on the Zoom screen revealing my tendency to store things?
And neither of us wants to look like TV presenter and fashion expert Trinny Woodall who was doing a live broadcast when her partner walked the screen naked across the room.
3. There is no way to catch up on hallway conversations
In person, we often meet people on the way to a meeting and catch up or discuss our opinions before we start. We go for coffee, and the simple act of walking to a different room motivates us.
But at home, perhaps we are working on a task and then we go to Zoom, often without taking a break.
Additionally, walking is known to enhance creativity, underscoring the importance of discussions as we walk to the meeting or when we move during the meeting or in the now popular standing meetings.
The physical environment acts as a cognitive scaffold. We attribute certain meanings to meeting rooms, and these subtleties change our behavior.
4. Looking at our own face is stressful
The emphasis placed on facial cues and the ability to see oneself can act as stressors. Seeing our negative facial expressions (such as anger and disgust) can lead to more intense emotions than when we see similar facial expressions in others.
5. Do you hear me or are you frozen?
Silence in real life conversations is important and creates a natural rhythm.
But in a video call, silence makes you crave for technology . Even a 1.2 second delay in online response can make people perceive the person speaking as less friendly or focused.