COVID-19

Too much virtual connection can be a bad thing

Jasmine Garsd Apr 6, 2020
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One expert advises putting time limits on your work video calls during mandatory work-from-home due to the coronavirus.
COVID-19

Too much virtual connection can be a bad thing

Jasmine Garsd Apr 6, 2020
One expert advises putting time limits on your work video calls during mandatory work-from-home due to the coronavirus.
Share Now on:
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Millions of Americans are working from home right now. We’re trying to connect with colleagues more than ever before; the use of video conferencing services like Zoom has skyrocketed. Some might say we’re trying a little too hard.

Let me paint a picture for you. You’re at home working. You’re in your sweatpants, your kids are tearing each other apart in the background, and your hair — let’s not even talk about your hair. Suddenly, you get a video call from your boss.  

“It’s exhausting because of the level of access,” said Michael Cohen, an educator in Tel Aviv. “It’s exhausting because people can contact you at any hour.”

Mallory McMaster, who teaches executives and employees how to be better communicators, said even though video calls are one step closer to in-person meetings than phone calls, it’s still a lot of work to be watching a dozen of your colleagues at once. 

“It’s actually harder and it takes more energy to communicate that way,” McMaster said.

She’s reminding some companies not to use tools like Zoom as a way to check up on workers — only for actual meetings. She recommends everyone be assertive with their time.

“What I’ve told people is maybe set a limit of two hours of video calls a day and be upfront and honest with your teammates or your employers or your clients about that,” she said.

According to New York-based psychologist Andy Schwem, there’s another, deeper reason these video calls feel tiring. 

“It’s really nice to connect with others, and there was this initial outburst as soon as the stay-in-places got put into place,” he said, adding: “… seeing the people and doing this form of communication can just remind you of what’s going on.”

People are at home because of a deadly global pandemic — it’s OK to want to disconnect from that reminder.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

When does the expanded COVID-19 unemployment insurance run out?

The CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March, authorized extra unemployment payments, increasing the amount of money, and broadening who qualifies. The increased unemployment benefits have an expiration date — an extra $600 per week the act authorized ends on July 31.

Which states are reopening?

Many states have started to relax the restrictions put in place in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Although social-distancing measures still hold virtually everywhere in the country, more than half of states have started to phase out stay-at-home orders and phase in business reopenings. Others, like New York, are on slower timelines.

Is it worth applying for a job right now?

It never hurts to look, but as unemployment reaches levels last seen during the Great Depression and most available jobs are in places that carry risks like the supermarket or warehouses, it isn’t a bad idea to sit tight either, if you can.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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