Case to turn off the Zoom camera

In addition, a camera-off approach has the potential to create more inclusive organizations, says Gabriel. Research shows that newcomers to organizations may experience more Zoom fatigue, because they think it is especially important to show the face more often to their new colleagues, she says. Women are also affected, because they are more likely to work from home due to childcare. In addition, the same research found that introverts experience Zoom fatigue more acutely than extroverts. Turning off the camera can help reduce stress for workers in these many groups who may be most affected.

What is best practice for the future?

The good news is that things can change. Although Gabriel believes that seeing people on camera really helps workers who miss their colleagues, burnout in video calls and a greater pressure for worker flexibility can move the Zoom label in a new direction.

Some companies have already made cameras optional, especially as more research claims that an optional camera approach is better for people’s mental health. Gabriel says that we are at a “turning point, to let people really create work environments and workplaces that work for them instead of against them”.

People will find different balances. Shen says that while it is beneficial to watch people on video calls, “it may not always be necessary”. She suggests that a team can do three days with cameras in a week and two days off, or something similar, to reduce Zoom fatigue. “I think there is something companies can be a little more sensible about, or at least give people a break,” she says.

Managers must also trust workers and accept that if the cameras are off, it does not mean that people are uninvolved. “We often see the camera as the only indicator of engagement, but what if we used other features more carefully, such as the polls and the chat, where it does not matter if someone’s camera is on or not?” says Gabriel. She says that Zoom has many features – besides the camera – that show that workers participate in meetings.

It is also crucial, she believes, for the person conducting the conversation to set the right tone, and tell the participants that it is not a requirement to have cameras on – whether it is the leader of a one-time meeting, or the company when it is far. now guidelines or rules in place.

Businesses and executives who are still committed to “cameras on” should ask themselves why they think they need them. If it’s because they fear that workers are fooling around, Gabriel and Shen point out that the workforce worked well in old-fashioned telephone conferences for decades. Having new platforms like Zoom does not necessarily mean that everything about older practices is outdated.

“Just because technology can do something, does not mean it always makes sense to us,” says Shen.