Turning off cameras during virtual meetings can reduce fatigue: Research

More than a year after the pandemic led many workers to switch to telecommuting, virtual meetings have become a familiar part of everyday life.

New research done by Allison Gabriel, A professor of management and organizations at McClelland and a respected researcher at the University’s University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, suggests that the camera may be partly to blame for “Zoom fatigue”.

Gabriel’s study looked at the role of cameras in employee fatigue and found out whether these feelings are worse for certain employees.

“There’s always this assumption that if you have a camera on during meetings, you’re more committed,” Gabriel said.

“But there are also a lot of pressures associated with being present with the camera. Professional background and looking ready or keeping children out of the room are some of the pressures,” Gabriel added.

After a four-week trial involving 103 participants and more than 1,400 observations, Gabriel and his colleagues found it really tiring to deploy the camera during the virtual meeting.

“When people had cameras on or were asked to keep them on, they reported more fatigue than non-camera colleagues. And that fatigue correlated with less noise and less commitment during meetings,” Gabriel said.

“So in reality, those who had a camera on were potentially less involved than those who did not use cameras. This precludes the traditional wisdom that cameras have to participate in virtual meetings,” Gabriel added.

Gabriel also found that these effects were stronger for women and the organization for newer employees, probably due to increased pressure to present themselves.

“Employees, who tend to be more vulnerable to their social status in the workplace, such as women and newer, less employed workers, have an increased sense of fatigue when they have to keep cameras on during meetings,” Gabriel said.

“Women often feel pressured to be effortless to perfection or more likely to interrupt childcare, and newer employees feel they need to be in front of the camera and participate in demonstrating productivity,” Gabriel explained.

Gabriel suggested that waiting for employees to turn on cameras during Zoom meetings is not the best way forward.

Rather, he said, employees should have the freedom to choose whether or not to use their cameras, and others should not make assumptions about distraction or productivity if someone decides to keep the camera off.

“After all, we want employees to feel independent and supported at work to do their best. Independence in using the camera is another step in that direction,” Gabriel said.

This study was written by an Eller graduate student Mahira Ganster, Kristen M. Shockley With the University of Georgia, Daron Robertson Tucson-based healthcare company BroadPath Inc. Christopher Rosen With the University of Arkansas, Nitya Chawla With Texas A&M University Maira Ezerins With the University of Arkansas.

Source: ANI

Source: The Nordic Page


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