Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Research: Cameras On or Off?

Anne says: We first started writing about “Zoom fatigue” in our Friday Fave on 29 May 2020. As is frequently the case, research follows practice. But it is worth the wait. This summary of the research conducted into Zoom (or video conferencing) fatigue focused on the use of the camera, asking:

How much does having your camera on contribute to your level of fatigue?
Should you keep your video camera on or off?

There’s some compelling results that provide food for thought. In particular, “…Using the camera was positively correlated to daily feelings of fatigue; the number of hours that employees spent in virtual meetings were not.”

Furthermore, the impact indicated that both women and newer employees were more affected. So while we’re trying to be inclusive and engaging by using cameras, it appears the opposite outcome is influencing how effective video call meetings are.

The recommendations are more like questions for further research. Clearly, we need to review protocols and the overuse of video calls. For me, I think we’re also entering a phase where hybrid work practices may have an even greater impact than this research project has highlighted. What happens when a number of people are co-located during a meeting and some people are remote, using video conferencing? Can the remote workers turn off their cameras without any impact on their contributions and role in these types of meetings? Can you turn off your camera when you’re not speaking, and turn it on when you are? When your camera is off, how do other meeting participants interpret your “presence”?

Many questions remain to be addressed as we move forward into the next phases of working patterns. But it’s clear that camera fatigue has an impact on the effectiveness of meetings. This is not something we can ignore and how we create ways to avoid it will persist, while more research projects such as this one are important for how we manage the consequences.

Read: https://hbr.org/2021/10/research-cameras-on-or-off

7 ways to reduce friction between remote and onsite employees

Jakkii says: While I tend to lean into the idea a digital-first culture is the most useful for ultimately levelling the playing field between onsite employees and those who are remote, that doesn’t mean it’s the only approach nor that there aren’t strategies you can employee alongside efforts aimed at moving towards a digital-first culture for hybrid workplaces. This article offers 7 strategies for reducing the tension that comes with balancing those who are remote and those who are onsite on any given day.

  1. Identify the cause of the friction

  2. Be transparent

  3. Define what flexibility means

  4. Rethink what roles can be performed remotely

  5. Address distance bias

  6. Build trust

  7. Show appreciation for those who show up every day

I think these are, broadly, logical and sensible and really are probably approaches that should have been taken long before the pandemic or moving into the idea of a true hybrid workplace. Workplaces that allow for flexibility and autonomy cannot operate without trust, so number 6 is absolutely critical in my view.

I thought number 7 was kind of interesting, particularly as it’s based on an assumption that people want to be working from home and will therefore be resentful if they have to come to the office each day. This may be true for people for whom their role doesn’t allow them to work from home, but outside of this, in general, if people are coming into the office every day it should be because that’s how they want to work (though of course, it’s also possible their home environment is not conducive to working from home for a multitude of possible reasons).

I guess whatever the reason they’re in the office every day, or some days, or working from home every day, shouldn’t we be showing our appreciation to everyone for showing up wherever they’re working from, each and every day, putting in the work? It’s often been the case in the past – and likely still is in at least some workplaces – that the people not in the office are less visible and more likely to be forgotten, overlooked and unincluded, so while it’s important to keep people feeling motivated and valued, I’m not sure that doubling down on the ‘out of sight out of mind’ habit by showing more appreciation for people who come into the office 5 days a week is the answer to that problem.

What do you think about these strategies? Any others you’d offer up in their place? I’d love to hear from you – get in touch in the comments or on social media.

Read: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/7-ways-to-reduce-friction-between-remote-and-onsite-employees.aspx

At home

Jakkii says: It’s November! That means there’s only 7 Fridays left until Christmas – are you ready?? While you’re getting your head around that, here’s 5 things to read, watch and do at home this week.

Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace and the future of work

Remote work and the digital workplace

Also: Zoom is piloting ads for users on their free basic plan

Communication, collaboration, engagement, and culture

Community management, moderation and misinformation

Privacy and data

Big Tech, tech and regulation

Social media

Extras

This is interesting: The strange origins of American birthday celebrations

Things that make you go hmmm: What happens when your favourite thing goes viral?

Space: The United Nations could finally create new rules for space

Podcast: How to learn, unlearn & stay curious at work, with Chip Conley

Friday playlist: I can’t pick a font for my essay

Sydney Business Insights – The Future, This Week Podcast

This week: rebranding the company and the metaverse play: we discuss the Facebook announcements, meta and verse.

Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

The stories this week

00:56 – Rebranding Facebook and the metaverse play

Listen: https://sbi.sydney.edu.au/meta-and-the-metaverse-on-the-future-this-week/


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