Microsoft has confirmed what everyone already knew: a day packed with video calls is stressful.
In a recent study, the company assessed the effect of back-to-back video meetings on the brain wave activity of a group of volunteers. The study found that they “can decrease our ability to focus and engage”, while “jumping from one virtual meeting to another can cause spikes in stress”.
Here at Glue, we have previously touched on how video calls can be draining and depersonalizing. We feel a pressure to constantly perform. Microsoft rightly suggests that building in more breaks can help. As can flipping to other modes of communication. Perhaps a quick back-and-forth in Teams or over email can make sense in lieu of a meeting,
But could virtual collaboration in 3D workspaces also be a remedy? Our users think so. Indeed, many Glue users have reported benefits to their wellbeing, describing how they experience higher energy levels and less work-related stress.
There are a few possible explanations for this. With virtual avatar-to-avatar communication, the pressure of being in front the camera goes away. So too does the feeling that one is being continually monitored. And instead of isolation, people feel closer to their colleagues.
Our users have told us that discussions over virtual reality meetings also feel more meaningful and enjoyable than video calls. That’s one of the reasons why we created The Guildhouse as a new space for relaxed chats over a virtual coffee.
Having meetings in virtual reality gets us up on our feet too. Your room to maneuver ideally needs to be little more than an arm’s length around your VR headset, which all but the tightest of spaces should allow. And even if sitting, you’ll be giving your upper body a bit more to do. One leading brand using Glue noted how its teams found VR meetings were “positive for health” as it added motion and variation to the work day as well as improved posture.
With remote working becoming an entrenched part of work life, there’s the danger that our interactions with others become one-dimensional. As Microsoft’s Jared Spataro concludes, wall-to-wall meetings “just aren’t sustainable”. Which is why we believe people will increasingly seek out variety in their work day for both productivity and wellness reasons. And when you do have a meeting, being able to choose the right setting can do wonders.
Where should your next remote team meeting take place? Book a Glue demo