Brits working from home are suffering from video-call fatigue

Zoom and gloom! Britons working from home are suffering from epidemic of video-call fatigue, survey finds

  • The study suggests that video calls require more focus than a face-to-face chat 
  • Researchers from London South Bank University found that workers who made many video calls during work hours, had low energy levels at the end of the day
  • The experts advise advise employers to ensure staff take regular breaks and shut down digital devices such as laptops and phones, outside core hours

Britons working remotely are suffering from an epidemic of ‘Zoom fatigue’, a new study reveals.

According to the survey, video calls are more tiring for staff than face-to-face meetings and other forms of digital communication like emails and texts. 

Researchers from London South Bank University, found that video calls require higher levels of emotional self-control and workers need a longer recovery time than if they were in the office. 

Researchers found that video calls are more tiring for staff than face-to-face meetings

The experts warn that during the pandemic workers’ routines are are being dictated by their technology packages, affecting their long-term health.  

They advise employers need to ensure staff take regular breaks and shut down digital devices like laptops and work phones outside core hours. 

102 employees working remotely during the first lockdown, were asked to keep a diary for ten days.

Participants were asked to record how many minutes they spent each day using different forms of remote communication and assess their energy levels two hours after finishing work.

They found that workers making many video calls via platforms like Zoom, Skype, Slack and Microsoft teams found it difficult to relax at the end of the day.

Their findings match previous research that nine in ten UK workers suffered a slump in energy levels as they switched face-to-face meetings for virtual calls from home.

Experts say that video calls require more focus than a face-to-face chat to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language and suggest limiting video calls to those that are necessary to save energy.

The experts advise employers to ensure staff take regular breaks and shut down their devices outside work hours

The lead researcher in the latest study Karin Moser, professor of organisational behaviour at LSBU’s Business School, said that home working is risking employees’ health.

He said: ‘This study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that these practices pose a threat to employee wellbeing.

‘The pandemic has thrown much of the workforce into one huge online experiment, forcing the majority of employees to work from home suddenly.

‘This has left staff with no previous experience of remote working with little time to prepare and adjust.

‘The danger is that many work routines are now dictated by what technology packages are available, giving the user little time for reflection on whether what’s been provided is adequate.

According to the study workers who made many video calls during work hours, had low energy levels at the end of the day 

‘Meanwhile employees are also lacking the necessary skills training to help them collaborate and lead virtually.

‘This business practice is not sustainable and, in the long-term, will have detrimental impacts on employee health and productivity.’ 

The first lockdown from March 23 saw the number of adults making online video calls double, according to Ofcom.

More than seven in ten people were holding video meetings at least weekly.

Zoom’s user base rocketed from 659,000 adults in January to 13 million adults in April. 

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