When the pandemic struck in March 2020, we were all put into lockdown, which saw some workplaces close and requests for employees who could work from home to do so. Overnight businesses had to find new ways to allow them to still operate as best as they could.
Video conference calls soon became a common method of work, for these remote workers: as this provided a way to still be able to connect with colleagues as a second best to being in the office. Video calls are now used daily for many reasons such as team meetings, one to ones with managers, group catch ups, customer calls, and interviews.
However, after months of employees adapting to this way of working,(and in some cases home schooling children this way too!) employees are now starting to feel the strain and stress of constantly needing to be, or being requested to be on video calls.
Employers need to ensure that they are assisting employees, proving them with support to reduce fatigue from these calls and help them to overcome the fear and dread of attending video calls. Once again we find ourselves having to work remotely due to lockdown 3 and many have never returned to the workplace since the first lockdown in 2020.
Many employees have reported that due to the easiness and readily available technology they are attending more meetings per day than they would if they were in the workplace! They find themselves not being able to take breaks in-between calls, due to how many calls they are expected to participate in. This in itself can be tiring, draining and you can find employees putting off or dreading having to dial into their next call.
What should employers do
The ways in which employers can help include:
- Build in proper break times – a break from screen time is vital for employee wellbeing. Employers should ensure employees are taking proper breaks and communicate to them the importance of having a break away from the screen. Even something as simple as starting calls at 5 past the hour can help! Have a proper agenda – (send ahead of the meeting or include in the invite) structure the purpose of the meeting and have an agenda of what is to be covered at the meeting, including timeframes for each topic and who is to be involved, keep all calls as short as possible.
- Ensure attendees of the call are actually required – Nothing can be more demotivating than being on a call that you are not required to be on. Employee morale, engagement and motivation is hard to maintain, this can be made worse by employees being on calls they are not required to attend and have no input in, it can make them feel detached from the team and that they do not add any value.
- Decide if a video call is needed or if a phone call is sufficient – not all calls require face to face contact, the old-fashioned way of a simple phone call can be good enough, this will help employees to have a break from their computer screens and give their eyes a much-needed rest.
- Communicate to employees the importance of keeping active – encourage them to take breaks from their workplace and do some exercise, this can be a walk around their house or garden throughout the day, or even to do some basic stretches, arm curls or walking on the spot.