Tag: Zoom

By Chris Smith for Trusted Reviews

Zoom users are sick of looking at themselves during online meetings and it’s causing additional stress and fatigue, according to a new study.

New research from the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab say the endless stream of remote work video calls are causing “Zoom fatigue” and it’s somewhat down to seeing too much of ourselves on screen during the meetings.

“Imagine in the physical workplace, for the entirety of an 8-hr workday, an assistant followed you around with a handheld mirror, and for every single task you did and every conversation you had, they made sure you could see your own face in that mirror. This sounds ridiculous, but in essence this is what happens on Zoom calls,” the study asserts (via FT).

It continues: “Zoom users are seeing reflections of themselves at a frequency and duration that hasn’t been seen before in the history of media and likely the history of people.”

The study cites previous research on the affects of seeing oneself mirrored for extended periods of time. Previous studies have suggested that seeing ourselves too often can lead to negative self-evaluation.

The study also points out that the “long stretches of direct eye gaze and faces seen close up” with colleagues on Zoom calls is behaviour that was previously reserved for our closer, more personal relationships. The author also remarks that, unlike the real world, participants in a Zoom call are often the subject of constant eye gaze even when they’re not speaking.

It also looks at the need to constantly modify non-verbal behaviour during the calls, to make it appear that you’re taking notice. That stuff is tiring, man!

The author Jeremy Bailenson argues that Zoom could relieve users with a few changes, including hiding the self-view screen as the default setting. The author also suggests limiting the size of our heads in the frame. Businesses could also be more proactive by making more meetings audio only too, he says.

 

Why Zoom calls drain your energy

By Manyu Jiang for BBC Worklife

Your screen freezes. There’s a weird echo. A dozen heads stare at you. There are the work huddles, the one-on-one meetings and then, once you’re done for the day, the hangouts with friends and family.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we’re on video calls more than ever before – and many are finding it exhausting.

But what, exactly, is tiring us out? BBC Worklife spoke to Gianpiero Petriglieri, an associate professor at Insead, who explores sustainable learning and development in the workplace, and Marissa Shuffler, an associate professor at Clemson University, who studies workplace wellbeing and teamwork effectiveness, to hear their views.

Is video chat harder?

Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat, says Petriglieri. Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy. “Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,” he says.

Delays on phone or conferencing systems of 1.2 seconds made people perceive the responder as less friendly or focused
Silence is another challenge, he adds. “Silence creates a natural rhythm in a real-life conversation. However, when it happens in a video call, you became anxious about the technology.” It also makes people uncomfortable. One 2014 study by German academics showed that delays on phone or conferencing systems shaped our views of people negatively: even delays of 1.2 seconds made people perceive the responder as less friendly or focused.

An added factor, says Shuffler, is that if we are physically on camera, we are very aware of being watched. “When you’re on a video conference, you know everybody’s looking at you; you are on stage, so there comes the social pressure and feeling like you need to perform. Being performative is nerve-wracking and more stressful.” It’s also very hard for people not to look at their own face if they can see it on screen, or not to be conscious of how they behave in front of the camera.

How are the current circumstances contributing?

Yet if video chats come with extra stressors, our Zoom fatigue can’t be attributed solely to that. Our current circumstances – whether lockdown, quarantine, working from home or otherwise – are also feeding in.

Petriglieri believes that fact we feel forced into these calls may be a contributory factor. “The video call is our reminder of the people we have lost temporarily. It is the distress that every time you see someone online, such as your colleagues, that reminds you we should really be in the workplace together,” he says. “What I’m finding is, we’re all exhausted; It doesn’t matter whether they are introverts or extroverts. We are experiencing the same disruption of the familiar context during the pandemic.”

Then there’s the fact that aspects of our lives that used to be separate – work, friends, family – are all now happening in the same space. The self-complexity theory posits that individuals have multiple aspects – context-dependent social roles, relationships, activities and goals – and we find the variety healthy, says Petriglieri. When these aspects are reduced, we become more vulnerable to negative feelings.

“Most of our social roles happen in different places, but now the context has collapsed,” says Petriglieri. “Imagine if you go to a bar, and in the same bar you talk with your professors, meet your parents or date someone, isn’t it weird? That’s what we’re doing now… We are confined in our own space, in the context of a very anxiety-provoking crisis, and our only space for interaction is a computer window.”

Shuffler says a lack of downtime after we’ve fulfilled work and family commitments may be another factor in our tiredness, while some of us may be putting higher expectations on ourselves due to worries over the economy, furloughs and job losses. “There’s also that heightened sense of ‘I need to be performing at my top level in a situation’… Some of us are kind of over-performing to secure our jobs.”

Shouldn’t  Zooming my friends relax me?

Lots of us are doing big group chats for the first time, whether it’s cooking and eating a virtual Easter dinner, attending a university catch-up or holding a birthday party for a friend. If the call is meant to be fun, why might it feel tiring?

Part of it, says Shuffler, is whether you’re joining in because you want to or because you feel you ought to – like a virtual happy hour with colleagues from work. If you see it as an obligation, that means more time that you’re ‘on’ as opposed to getting a break. A proper chat with friends will feel more social and there will be less ‘Zoom fatigue’ from conversations where you’ve had a chance to be yourself.

Big group calls can feel particularly performative, Petriglieri warns. People like watching television because you can allow your mind to wander – but a large video call “is like you’re watching television and television is watching you”. Large group chats can also feel depersonalising, he adds, because your power as an individual is diminished. And despite the branding, it may not feel like leisure time. “It doesn’t matter whether you call it a virtual happy hour, it’s a meeting, because mostly we are used to using these tools for work.”

So how can we alleviate Zoom fatigue?

Both experts suggest limiting video calls to those that are necessary. Turning on the camera should be optional and in general there should be more understanding that cameras do not always have to be on throughout each meeting. Having your screen off to the side, instead of straight ahead, could also help your concentration, particularly in group meetings, says Petriglieri. It makes you feel like you’re in an adjoining room, so may be less tiring.

In some cases it’s worth considering if video chats are really the most efficient option. When it comes to work, Shuffler suggests shared files with clear notes can be a better option that avoids information overload. She also suggests taking time during meetings to catch up before diving into business. “Spend some time to actually check into people’s wellbeing,” she urges. “It’s a way to reconnect us with the world, and to maintain trust and reduce fatigue and concern.”

Building transition periods in between video meetings can also help refresh us – try stretching, having a drink or doing a bit of exercise, our experts say. Boundaries and transitions are important; we need to create buffers which allow us to put one identity aside and then go to another as we move between work and private personas.

And maybe, says Petriglieri, if you want to reach out, go old-school. “Write a letter to someone instead of meeting them on Zoom. Tell them you really care about them.”

 

By Hemani Sheth Mumbai for The Business Line

Hackers are selling over 500 000 Zoom accounts on the dark web and hacker forums for less than a penny each, and in some cases, for free according to a recent report by web platform Bleeping Computer.

Bleeping computer in the report said that they had first been informed of these accounts being posted on said platforms by cybersecurity intelligence firm Cyble who started noticing the posts around 1 April.

The firm had then reached out to the sellers who had put up the account for sale and had bought credentials for 530 000 Zoom accounts at $0.002 for a single account in an attempt to warn the customers of the breach.

Findings
According to the report, the accounts were hacked using credential stuffing attacks. Hackers use previously leaked accounts to login to the Zoom app. The credentials that enable them to successfully log into the app are then compiled and put up for sale on the dark web.

These credentials include email address, passwords, personal meeting URLs, and HostKeys, as per the report. Almost 290 accounts from the hacked accounts were related to universities and colleges, it said.

In a statement to BleepingComputer, Zoom had said that the company is already working on finding these password dumps to reset affected users’ passwords, the report said.

This is not the first instance of hackers zeroing in on the video-conferencing app that has gained massive popularity owing to global shutdowns in light of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a recent report by Motherboard, hackers have been cashing in on Zoom’s ‘zero-day’ vulnerabilities and selling data stolen from the app on the dark web.

‘Zero-day’ vulnerabilities are faults in software that hackers can use to target specific users. The price for zero-day vulnerabilities in Zoom on the dark web ranges from $5,000 to $30,000, the report said.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan had recently held a Livestream conference acknowledging the privacy and security issues within the app ensuring that the company was working on fixing them.

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top