Why are video-conferences getting so draining?

The interface is user-friendly, the audio and video quality are usually fairly good, it’s reliable, and the ability to record internal calls for future reference at the touch of a button is handy. Recently I’ve been using it to record interviews for my podcast Media Masters, and, while it’s not the same as sitting in a professional studio eyeballing the guest, it’s not a badsubstitute. Skype, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams are perfectly good products, but “Zoom” has become almost the default setting for the non-technical audience. Social gatherings are a thing of the past, and remote contact, whether professionally or privately, is the direction of travel now. Terrifyingly, if you do a Google search for “Zoom sex”, it returns 228 million results, proof, if of nothing else, that human ingenuity isboundless. To compensate this, include a few quick exercises like stretching, skipping or jumping jacks before you start work or in between during breaks. Try to restrict yourself to a secluded part of your home so that neither does your routine affect that of the others in the house, nor do their activities disrupt your concentration. You could also use noise cancelling headphones or ear buds to block the cacophony of family members, traffic and phones or the television. Sitting at the same spot everyday will enhance concentration as it will help in setting psychological boundaries and keep you from getting distracted by any unfinished task other than work, such as laundry or vacuuming. This will help you manage workload and meet deadlines the same way when you are not working from your office, keeping the work-life balance intact. While adjusting into the workflow, focus on the amount of work that you can complete and feel satisfied with, instead of aiming too high. Decide on a common platform that everyone could use from their respective work spaces to share regular updates about projects. Even though face-to-face communication cannot be replaced by online chats, one could tackle this by setting up groups such as “water-cooler chats” or “celebrate birthdays groups” to feel more involved with colleagues and friends. Worrying about the safety of your loved ones and friends amid a pandemic could adversely affect the spirits of people working from home, who are also vying to maintain productivity and professionalism. Keep stress and panic at bay by establishing a proper communication network with your colleagues, especially superiors. After all, we’re in our own homes, we can sit comfortably, have a cup of tea, even stay in our pyjamas if it’s only an audio call (though I insist that team meetings are by video, largely for my own amusement). This is so hardwired into human behaviour that we’re mostly not even aware that we’re doing it, in the same way that we don’t make a conscious decision to breathe, or to blink. We fret about whether our surroundings are tidy and presentable, we want to appear professional and in control, and, of course, there’s that new status symbol of the Zoom age: the bookcase background. Michael Gove was heavily criticised for the presence on his shelves of a book by the Holocaust denier David Irving, while others have been pilloried for posing in front of their own works. None of these is a major issue, but they combine to make us tense, unable fully to relax and focus on the job at hand.