With the pandemic causing many people to work from home, the use of video meetings has dramatically increased. The technology has certainly helped people connect and allows meetings or conferences to go on and not be cancelled. For some people though, being on video calls or meetings has created anxiousness and worry. Mental health experts suggest trying different ways to communicate for work to help alleviate the anxiety.
During a video call, people have to focus on many faces at once in a gallery view or worry about how they look as they speak. It is as if they are constantly looking in a mirror during the call. This can make people feel anxious or stressed. According to Vaile Wright, the American Psychological Association’s Director of Clinical Research and Quality, “Any of these factors require more focus and mental energy than a face-to-face meeting might. It’s this pressure to really be on and be responsive.”
It can also be difficult to interact on a video call. It isn’t as easy as talking in person since only one person is able to talk at a time. Some side conversation is lost, some who are less talkative may not get a word in, and others may get distracted by people in their home. Many of our non-verbal cues can also be lost in a video call.
To help ease the anxiety of video calls or meetings, try to change the form of communication. Not every call has to have video. Use your phone and don’t share video, as it can be less stressful to be in the meeting with your voice only. Take notes by hand to help with retention of the information in a video meeting. Since our homes are our workplaces and our screens are our connection, make sure your home office feels different when the work day is over. Whether it is a change in lighting or turning off the screen, it can be helpful to create that boundary.
As many of us continue to work from home during the pandemic, we need to remember to take care of our mental health. Small changes in our daily work habits can help to ease anxiety and make for a more productive work day. Although much of what we are doing now is virtual, we can still disconnect and take care of ourselves with meditation, yoga, breathing, or other coping strategies.
Lori Atkinson, Operations Director for The Kim Foundation
Lori Atkinson joined The Kim Foundation in May 2015. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in Middle Level Education. She was an 8th grade English teacher in the Omaha Public Schools from 1992 – 2000, a stay at home mom for several years, and then started a small non-profit in her husband’s memory during 2010. Lori carries out many duties for The Kim Foundation which includes: scheduling presentations in the community, hosting booths at conferences, managing the Art & Creative Writing Contest, coordinating the School Resource Fair, organizing the Suicide Prevention PSA Contest, assisting with the annual luncheon, and participating in the coalition’s community outreach group. Lori is the proud mom of three children and is actively involved in her church.