News: Watching coworkers pets curtails work stress for remote workers: Report

Wellbeing

Watching coworkers pets curtails work stress for remote workers: Report

As organisations identify ways to enhance workforce wellness, inviting pets and children to virtual meetings might be the solution to curtailing work-related stress, finds a new report.
Watching coworkers pets curtails work stress for remote workers: Report

About a quarter of remote workers in the US have admitted that Zoom fatigue is higher today than it has been in the last two years, found a new survey by Honest Paws.

The survey revealed that over half (55) of remote staff in the US have more meetings virtually than they did in person, with more than a third (35%) participating in a virtual meeting multiple times a week and one in five (17%) participating in a meeting multiple times a day.

Further, 35% of these remote workers have less than 30 minutes between meetings, contributing to the fatigue. The survey identified six key drivers of Zoom fatigue:

  • Meetings that run too long (56%)
  • Having to stare at a screen for long periods of time (52%)
  • Meetings that serve no purpose (49%)
  • Constantly seeing video feed of one’s self (38%)
  • Limited movement during meetings (36%)
  • Increased amount of eye contact during meetings (35%)

“So long as Zoom remains a part of the American home-based workforce, those who rely on its services will need to implement strategies to combat fatigue and burnout,” says Honest Paws.

“Switching to phone calls and emails, building in breaks between meetings, opting out of the occasional conference if needed, and yes: asking that one co-worker to give their four-legged friend some camera time for a much-needed serotonin boost.”

Another recent industry report found that almost half of remote workers feel more exhausted when asked to be on camera during meetings.

Interestingly, for nearly half of Americans, work-related stress is lessened whenever a co-worker’s dog (48%) or cat (46%) appears during a Zoom/virtual meeting.

In fact, seeing a co-worker’s dog (51%) or cat (42%) makes Zoom meetings more enjoyable for many..

“Studies have long shown that dogs increase our levels of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that calms our nervous system while reducing anxiety,” says Honest Paws. “In fact, a research study published in 2015 reported that simply gazing into a dog's eyes could cause a tremendous spike in a person's oxytocin levels — a 300% increase, to be exact. No wonder remote workers enjoy seeing their canine colleagues in the Zoom video grid!”

Other opportunities to contain work-related include:

  • Talking about non-work-related subjects
  • Sharing a funny story or a joke  
  • Colleague’s children making an appearance 
  • Making meetings last less than 15 minutes

With hybrid and remote working here to stay, virtual calls are certainly here to stay. To ensure organisations avoid overindulgence in virtual meetings that contribute to fatigue and hurt productivity and experience, it would be worth it to experiment with some of the recommendations from the study while also tailoring practices to provide what employees truly seek.

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Topics: Wellbeing, Culture

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