My morning routine has been pretty consistent during our school closure. I get up and shower and put on a clean outfit like I would on a normal work day. I go downstairs and make coffee and try to fit in a short mindfulness exercise before online meetings. After a couple of online meetings, I have been feeling wiped out and I can’t figure out why.
A colleague shared this article today by Steven Hickman about online exhaustion caused by meetings held on video platforms and I am thinking that it could be the reason. While I love the ability to connect virtually with colleagues to problem-solve and continue to revise our routines during this “current normal,” the end of these calls has been leaving me drained in a way that I never felt from in-person meetings. The following line from article summed up my feelings perfectly:
“I’ve been so busy lately that I thought perhaps I was just fatigued. But the more it happens, the more I realize that I end up feeling both connected but disconnected to these people.”
The article referenced a tweet from management professor Gianpiero Petriglieri that quantified the reason for the feelings of exhaustion:
“It’s easier being in each other’s presence, or in each other’s absence, than in the constant presence of each other’s absence.” So beautifully and eloquently perceptive!
Today I started practicing a few of the six ways highlighted in the article to help find a better sense of balance during these many online meetings and I definitely noticed a difference. The most useful of the practices for me was to “Choose “speaker view” and not try to stay attentive to all of the attendees simultaneously like I normally would try to do if we were in the same physical space.
There are so many nuances to take into consideration as we deal with physical distancing from our colleagues (and students) while using available technology to maintain interpersonal connections. I can’t imagine doing this without some of these tools, but it is not the same and we all need to acknowledge this and realize it is normal to feel disconnected while we are connecting.