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Zoom fatigue

FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel Abalos (The Freeman) - May 8, 2021 - 12:00am

It is a fact that for as long as we live we will be facing countless stressful situations. Whether it be on business, employment or relationship. Depending on its severity, when prolonged, it shall lead to chronic fatigue. It can also lead to sleep disruption or insomnia. Consequently, we become weak and our energy levels dip. When that happens, our efficiency rate will definitely go down. What happens next could be more disastrous. We might lose our jobs, close our business or abandon our family.

Then, technology advanced rapidly and it lightens our work-related stresses. Then, the virus dominated our lives. The technology became more useful. So that, the technology that was used by multinational companies for cost optimization became indispensable not only for businesses but for every human being on the planet. As if, technology and the virus were conspiring to change the way we do things.      

So that, right now, there are a lot of platforms/applications that are developed by both the tech giants and startups that are geared towards addressing prevailing concerns. We have already discussed some of these platforms/apps previously. To recall, on top of the already available operational software, we have singled out several applications that are in use and can be used to address the other business concerns, like the need to communicate. 

Notably, as far as communication is concerned, we’ve already discussed how the conduct of meetings have evolved. From the synchronous in person meeting, to synchronous virtual meetings (like, Zoom), then, to asynchronous virtual meetings (like, Loom and Comeet). Then, recognizing the need to constantly collaborate, we stumbled upon an app called Remotion. It is an app that put premium on collaboration. A kind of collaboration that happens where workmates are all physically present in one workplace though physically they are thousands of miles away.

It is built based on the premise that “collaboration is best face-to-face.” As discussed then, it is a “quick video chat app that puts your team on your desktop so you can see who’s free and jump into lightweight video chats.” This is possible as the app gives the team members the opportunity to let everyone know what he is up to or his work status at the very moment. Therefore, a team member in need won’t hesitate to poke the person he will seek some help with if he is available for a talk. 

We also came across with another platform that is far better collaboration-wise. Called “ImmersedVR”, it provides a “platform for co-workers to telecommute into a virtual reality workspace.”  It works in combination with a laptop and VR headset (or Virtual Reality headset is the same as those used by video games enthusiasts). In a virtual reality workspace where they can “detect coworkers’ body movements and even look at anything they are working onto.” Amazingly, it also allows “the coworkers to pick up when an employee is pointing, clicking, typing or white-boarding (on-screen shared notebook or just like a whiteboard), real-time in the virtual workplace.”  

This platform is so good that you can be on your own and so focused on what you are doing at the comfort of your home while at the same time being able to virtually collaborate with your workmates real-time. Thus, “optimizing both focus and productivity.” 

However, no matter how helpful the technology may be, there will always be issues associated with it. “Zoom fatigue” is one of those being addressed right now. This is not to say that “zoom fatigue” is the only thing that’s bothering workers now. Actually, this coined term is used in relation to fatigue arising from remote work or working from home. According to Brett Molina of USA today, this is due to “isolation, decreased employee visibility, decreased work/life balance, lack of relationship among workers and increased distractions.”

There are a lot of start-ups that are addressing these concerns right now, well, still using technology. Whether it will work, we do not know. Haven’t we perceived then that “virtual reality” technologies can primarily address our concerns? 

Lest we forget, we are still social beings. We need warm bodies to talk to and associate with.  Not warm or overheating laptops. In hitting the right balance, probably, a hybrid approach should be considered. When the pandemic is over, gathering for fun or work in the office on a rotational basis (as office areas have shrunk) in a month must be encouraged.  

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