For enterprise IT communications and collaboration professionals, the pandemic proved what many had known for some time: Cloud video tools can provide a host of benefits, such as the ability to support on-the-fly collaboration and serve as a platform for innovation work. But it also brought with it the realization that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing… like video meetings.
Now, as enterprises plan their next steps around in-office and remote work, many find themselves also looking to fix the issue of meeting/video fatigue that has sprung up over the last year, as I discussed in a recent article on our sister site, WorkSpace Connect. One potential solution comes way of Microsoft, which last week announced an update to Outlook and its employee experience platform, Viva.
For Outlook, Microsoft added the ability to set organization-wide scheduling defaults. With these, organizations can shorten meetings — from 30 minutes to 25 minutes, for example — and create breaks in between meetings. For its Viva Insights app, Microsoft added new praise features, launched the Virtual Commute feature introduced at last year’s Ignite conference, and previewed an upcoming curation of guided meditations and mindful experiences from wellness app Headspace.
However, as I mentioned in my WorkSpace Connect article, I wonder about the effectiveness of this update — just as meeting defaults can be set, they can be changed, or ignored. To break away from fatiguing meetings, I suggest that enterprises focus on two things: workplace culture and effective leadership. Not only do workplace leaders need to hear how employees are feeling and using the technology, but they need to have the onus of making video meetings less of a drain.
Market research bears out the fact that enterprises are grabbling with the challenge, as evident by data that Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst for Metrigy, shared in his latest WorkSpace Connect post. In that post, he not only highlighted how prevalent video meetings have become (82% of companies Metrigy surveyed said they use video for all or most meetings) but also stated that 34% of survey participants said video fatigue is a real issue in their organizations.
Lazar offered some simple solutions for combatting meeting fatigue, based on survey learnings. They include:
-Allowing participants to turn cameras off during video meetings, if they need a break
-Shortening meeting length to 30 or 45 minutes from the standard one hour
-Instituting meeting-free days, so employees have a chance to focus on work
And while video meetings aren’t going to go away anytime soon, there might be better ways to use them or specific video tools that make sense in some cases. Consider technology startup Butter, which my colleague Dana Casielles profiled in her latest WorkSpace Connect article. The Butter platform bills itself as an all-in-one tool for workshops and training. Butter is just one flavor of how video can be used differently; the market is full of vendors looking to make video meetings less fatiguing.
Like I said in my last WorkSpace Wednesday post, it might also be time for IT leaders step back, take a breath, and reexamine what they’ve done and plan to do. From a collaboration perspective, one thing that should be top of mind is how best to use video meetings, so employees remained engaged and energized, as we move into brighter times.