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Is it time to hit pause on video calls?

Philip Shepherd

23rd December 2020

The pandemic has meant that the use of video calls has shot up all around the world, allowing colleagues to keep in touch and meet ‘face-to-face’ while working from home.

However, according to a study by global staffing firm Robert Half, 38% of workers are suffering from ‘video call fatigue’ as the novelty of this form of communication has worn off. The survey found that 76% of professionals are participating in virtual meetings, spending 30% of their workday on camera with colleagues.

While it initially seemed like the perfect solution to ensure that team members could communicate effectively while socially distancing, it might be time to hit pause on video calls.

Here’s why you might want to take a moment to consider whether your next meeting really needs participants to be on webcam, or whether you’d be better off simply sending an email.

They’re often inefficient

Robert Half’s survey showed that a quarter of respondents found virtual meetings to be inefficient and exhausting, instead preferring to communicate through other channels, such as email or phone.

Technical issues were cited as one of the biggest problems with video calls, as they can be frustrating and take up a lot of time. This means that people are sitting around waiting for the meeting to start instead of actually getting their work done.

It’s also worth noting that not all employees have access to high-speed internet at home, and forcing them to participate in a video meeting can cause unnecessary issues and delays.

They’re resource heavy

Another bugbear that respondent had with video calls is there being too many participants, causing people to talk over each other.

The virtual nature of these meetings means that it’s easy for someone to add as many participants as they like without there being any physical space limitations. This leads to meetings full of people that don’t really need to be there.

When you factor in the man-hours that go into each meeting, they can become an expensive endeavour if you include everyone who ‘may as well’ attend instead of only the essential participants.

They can present privacy issues

For those employees with young children at home, the constant demand for video calls can be a little uncomfortable and may feel like an invasion of privacy.

Many workers were unprepared for the possibility of working from home, and may not be set up in the most convenient place. This could mean family members walking through while sensitive information is being discussed, creating issues with privacy and GDPR compliance.

They’re kind of embarrassing

While working from home, many workers are relishing the opportunity to be a little more casual. For those offices that require formal workwear, the ability to wear something a little more comfortable is a nice bonus for employees.

Workers often feel self conscious when they are on video, especially as many webcams offer a less-than-flattering angle! It can be embarrassing for people to feel that they are being viewed as less put together, or that their home is under scrutiny by their coworkers.

It’s been a difficult year for everyone, so your colleagues and employees will surely thank you for giving them a bit of a break from the webcam whenever possible.

Philip Shepherd

Philip Shepherd

Founder & CEO

Philip specialises in: Senior, Director and C-Level roles in Digital Marketing

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