Zoom Fatigue refers to feelings of tiredness, worry or burnout due to the overuse of video calling platforms.
To help those who fall victim to this, we first need to understand what’s driving it.
It has become a norm for employers to ask their team to have their cameras turned on during a meeting.
Whether this is to mimic the feel of an office, to monitor whether people are actually paying attention, or to simply demonstrate an air of professionalism, the fact is that this is quite a common request being made in the remote and hybrid working world.
If we think about the practicalities of being on Zoom, it is essentially like being in a meeting with a mirror propped up in front of your face. Now, you have to speak to a whole room of people while also having to watch yourself!
This can be particularly difficult for those of us who suffer from public self-consciousness, which is the tendency to fixate on how others are perceiving you.
Research published by Social Cognition builds on this idea, as it found that when people see their own faces on screen, they spend more time looking at themselves and thinking about how they appear than they do focusing on the conversation being had.
Interestingly, numerous studies have suggested that women are more likely to self-focus and feel anxiety when they are in the presence of a mirror. It wasn’t surprising, therefore, to see that a recent study from Stanford found that 1 in 7 women feel very fatigued after Zoom calls compared to 1 in 20 men. And the reason for women being disproportionately affected was because of the increase in ‘self-focused attention’, which is the heightened awareness of how one comes across or appears in a conversation.
The research also found that introverts suffered from Zoom Fatigue much more, as well as younger individuals and people of color. Looking at it from this perspective, enforcing the ‘cameras on’ rule in the workplace may be doing more harm than good, and could also be deemed as a problem of inclusion, considering different types of people are affected differently.
Looking at our own research, which found that over a quarter of respondents (28%) preferred to have their camera’s off during meetings, it may be time for companies to begin taking this into consideration if they haven’t already done so.
So, what are the ways an employer can combat Zoom Fatigue?
Firstly, making people aware of the ‘hide self-view’ option available on Zoom could be a simple and extremely helpful solution. This means that the person’s camera will still be on and they will be seen by everyone apart from themselves, and this can help with growing feelings of self-scrutiny. However, this may not work for all, as the idea of knowing people can still see you but you now cannot see yourself can induce anxiety in and of itself.
The second thing it comes down to is trust. If an employer trusts their staff, then they will be flexible towards having cameras on and off during a meeting, as they should trust that even if they cannot see someone it doesn’t mean they are not paying attention.
And finally, companies could also look at ways of trying to reduce video calls. Make use of simple voice calls and the chat box feature when you can, and move away from this virtual presenteeism mindset.
If you would like to discuss how to approach this topic in greater detail, you get in touch with us here.
Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020
There has been a bit of a theme emerging in the world of work.
First it was the ‘quiet quitting’ phenomenon that swept across the 2022 workplace landscape.
Hot on its heels came the trend for ‘quiet firing’ which emerged in response to workers quietly quitting.
And so, to the newest edition – ‘quiet hiring’.
The term has been coined by the leader of Gartner’s research team, Emily Rose McRae, who describes ‘quiet hiring’ as a way to address an immediate need for the company. The business could hire external contractors. Or, if money is tight, they might shuffle existing team members around to fill the short-term gap that has opened up.
The latter approach is, however, higher risk as uprooting people from their roles might just prompt them to begin quietly quitting! Add to that the danger of someone feeling their original role was not valued if it could be put on hold and you have a recipe for a host of unintended consequences further down the line.
The problem with having all of these ‘quiet’ approaches is that they are all being carried out, well, quietly!
Employees found themselves struggling to communicate their need for boundaries at work, and so began to quietly build them themselves. Employers were struggling with communicating with staff who they felt were underperforming, and so began to quietly push them away. And now we have companies who are trying to quietly repair skill gaps, which could result in more quiet quitting … which will, in turn, lead to more quiet firing.
It is a vicious, surreptitious cycle which could be avoided if employers and employees spoke up rather than clammed up about their mutual needs and expectations.
This means encouraging and supporting a dialogue between managers and their direct reports about their wellbeing needs, as well as managers knowing how to help employees they feel may be underperforming.
And when it comes to filling those short-term gaps, the best approach is to be open with your people about what the company needs to do – and how you plan to do it. Then sit back and listen to what they have to say, because a productive two-way dialogue is always better than the sound of silence.
To get in touch with us about any communication and culture needs you may have, head over to our contact page.
Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020
With the pandemic altering the fundamental structure of work, many employers have been wading through several stages of grief as they realize there is no “returning to normal” and remote/hybrid working models are here to stay. As we venture into a new year – three years after the pandemic began – employers appear to be entering the final stage of grief: acceptance. And this ‘acceptance’ can help organizations thrive with the introducing of a Chief Remote Officer (CRO).
According to the State of Remote Work Report 2022, 60% of employers in the US require staff to work remotely or in a hybrid capacity. Now is the time for employers to embed remote work into their foundations and use it as an organizational tool. Employers who are intentional about remote working strategies will be able to build, innovate, and leverage their benefits, and this means clearly establishing how remote work will fit into your company and its culture.
This is where a CRO proves incredibly valuable; having an executive leader dedicated to optimizing remote and hybrid workers ensures a business can create and accelerate opportunity. The CRO finds ways of leveraging remote work in a healthy, productive, and profitable way for employers and employees alike.
They also design policies and programs that remove an individual’s work location as a critical factor for success. With McKinsey finding over 90 million American workers now working remotely or in a hybrid setting, the need for a specialized executive to coordinate and care for this aspect of work has become even more necessary.
Many more responsibilities fall under a CRO – establishing the most effective communication protocols, exchanging and gaining access to shared data, maintaining the organization’s culture, and repurposing the workplace to meet today’s business and workforce needs. Expanding the C-suite to include this new role reflects how many companies’ dynamics have evolved since COVID. Employee needs have changed – people value their time, recognize its importance, and are largely in favor of a remote working lifestyle.
Establishing a role like the CRO allows an organization to move away from being constantly reactive to remote and hybrid work. It is a proactive approach to meeting today’s business and workforce needs. Now is the time to begin looking at how you can best leverage this organizational tool – whether that be from an economic perspective, a people strategy perspective, or to further your environmental, social, and governance agenda. To discuss this topic further, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020
As we enter the new year, many employers are conducting end of year pay reviews for their employees. This year’s pay trends are likely to differ from previous ones due to a variety of factors which may influence how leaders and workers approach their compensation strategy in the coming twelve months. Considering that a recent study by Willis Towers has revealed that 75% of organizations are struggling to win over new talent, it is critical for companies to actively improve their compensation IQ in order to be a viable talent competitor.
As there is a clear need for employers to improve their compensation IQ in 2023, consider the following trends that are rising in the compensation space as your organization looks into how best to reward talent.
Making the effort to invest in improving your compensation IQ as an employer can be the differentiating factors when it comes to your talent strategy in 2023. Amongst the rising inflation rates, the cost-of-living crisis and changing attitudes towards work, understanding how to leverage compensation as a way of making you stand out will help ensure you are bringing in the right people. To discuss growing your compensation IQ or reviewing your compensation strategy in more detail, get in touch with me at email@example.com
Recently, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg laid off more than 11,000 employees due to a drop in profits, and this saw shares in the company sink by almost 20%. This is all without mentioning the anonymous reviews being left by former Meta employees on Blind – with one of them claiming that “the metaverse will be our slow death”. Suddenly, after months of being told that the metaverse is going to be the next step in the working world, people have begun to question this sentiment.
The metaverse is being marketed as the saving grace of hybrid, remote and global working. A digital space where users can interact with a face-to-face element from the comfort of their homes, allowing for company culture to remain intact, as well as revitalizing the ability to socialise with colleagues. It’s great on paper – but the whole point of the metaverse is its paperless allure.
Which brings me to the question – do we actually need it? Aside from the new wave of HR-related issues that would have to be navigated, seeing the sudden drop in its financial potential has spotlighted the fact that the metaverse may be a solution looking for a problem.
When we look deeper into what it is offering, it is presenting itself as the next step after Zoom and Teams, but is it more of just a sidestep? Video calling allows for face-to-face communication and global communication with ease, and now, after lockdown, most people have been trained and come to terms with the ins and outs of remote work. Introducing the metaverse into the workplace – which does the same thing but sounds cooler – could bring on more confusion than it’s worth. It would require an entire new set of training for colleagues to understand how to use the virtual reality headsets, as well as the purchasing of said equipment.
And while avatars are meant to make interaction in the metaverse more personable, will they be able to capture the non-verbal cues that are just as telling as someone’s verbal communications? Or will it require employees to become fluent in Cybernese, the emerging non-verbal language of the digital world? On Zoom, we can still see facial expressions and, to a degree, examine body language, but would this be the case with an avatar that is mimicking your behavior, or would it require a new set of knowledge entirely?
There is obvious attraction for a digital world – and the strides that could be taken in more hands-on jobs (such as mechanical engineering and biomedicine) could be life-changing for the future. But in terms of office jobs, it may be pulling at the wrong lever. A recent poll that OrgShakers conducted seemingly confirms this, as 50% of respondents did not want to use the metaverse, 22% didn’t know what it was, and no one said they were excited about it.
And with products like Sneek – which allows remote workers to see their fellow colleagues as they work and jump into instant video chats with them – the concerns that hybrid work has brought are already being solved without the need to venture into a digital landscape.
As it stands, the metaverse’s integration into corporate life could go either way – but while up to this point I had been viewing it as a huge step forward in the way we work, I am now beginning to think that we all might be blinded by its hype.
If you are thinking ‘what on earth is Cybernese?’ you may be surprised to discover that it is a rapidly evolving language that we all need to become fluent in – fast. Because Cybernese is the non-verbal, online language we have all begun to adopt since the mass exodus from the office to remote and hybrid work.
In the physical world, the idea that body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice can communicate as much as the actual words coming out of your mouth is a familiar one. So, being able to ‘read’ people is an important skill which can give us valuable insights into what they actually think and feel about something (or someone).
With more and more interaction happening online, we are now having to interpret a whole new set of non-verbal signals – Cybernese.
For example, services like Zoom and Teams have become an integral part to working from home. And whilst now it is more difficult to decipher body language from just a person’s head and shoulders, there are other aspects of non-verbal Zoom etiquette which convey a whole new set of different meanings – intentional or otherwise.
Do you attend meetings with your camera off? A recent study found that 92% of US executives believed that employees who had their cameras off probably did not have a long-term future at their organization.
And what about the background you use when on a video call? What does it imply about you and the kind of worker you are?
It is no surprise that those who are already somewhat fluent in ‘Cybernese’ are Gen Z workers – they are digital-natives with an almost intuitive understanding of the internet and social media. Research shows that 98% of Gen Z own a smartphone, and almost all of them use social media in some form. For younger workers, myself included, understanding all the non-verbal nuances in the digital world is something that we just know how to do – partly because we were the ones who invented them!
Take the emoji for instance. Originally conceived as icons to help add expressions to your text messages, many emojis now hold hidden meanings that are much less obvious to those who have not grown up using them. If your manager is sending you an eggplant emoji to tell you they are having a veggie parmigiana for dinner, this may not quite come across as intended…
Pre-pandemic, ‘Cybernese’ existed primarily as a means for young people to communicate amongst themselves without the older generation understanding what was being said. This is not a new idea; in the Victorian era flowers were used to send silent messages, with different flowers holding different meanings. Similarly, in 1970s New York, many gay men would use a handkerchief code to signal to each other. So, having a hidden, non-verbal language is not a new phenomenon – but what is new is the sudden need for this language to be understood by almost everyone in order to avoid any potential mishaps.
‘Cybernese’ could open a potential communication gap between staff – especially those from different generations – and so introducing a new set of training for digital non-verbal cues would be a great way to ensure that employers and employees alike know exactly how to market themselves. And with Gen Z steadily flowing into the workforce, as well as remote and hybrid working becoming more and more popular, now is the perfect time to seize this opportunity.
To get in touch with us and discuss this topic further, head over to our contact page.
As we venture into this new year, none of us can be sure what the future holds. However, with ‘unprecedented’ events becoming commonplace this decade, there are sure to be more than a few surprises in store for employers over the next 12-months.
But the truth about ‘surprises’ is that very often we will have had an idea they were coming our way. So, whether it’s based on the extrapolation of an established trend or simply ‘gut instinct’ based on years’ of experience, we asked the OrgShakers to predict what will be surprising us in 2023.
What we do know for certain is that 2022 brought with it many unexpected surprises that had a great effect on the working world, and so as we venture into 2023, OrgShakers are ready to help employers optimize every opportunity that comes their way. To get in touch with us about your people strategy or organization dynamics, head over here.
2022 was yet another memorable addition to the 21st century’s ‘roaring twenties’.
With the working world still adapting to the changes that the pandemic brought, as well as the rise of the metaverse and the cost-of-living crisis, there are a lot of things that employers, upon reflection, may want to leave in the past so that they can focus on the new year – and new opportunities – that lay ahead.
The OrgShakers team, therefore, have put together a list of thoughts that we think organizations should leave in 2022 in order to propel them upwards in the year to come:
If you want to get in touch with us surrounding any of these points, you can do so here!
For many around the world the festive season is upon us once again – a time of celebration, family gatherings and neighbourly sharing. These days, it is also underpinned by a flurry of purchases to achieve the idyllic picture of copious presents sitting under the Christmas tree. And as our TVs and social media feeds fill up with retail adverts encouraging us to part with our hard-earned cash, it will be no surprise to hear that online sales have increased by almost a trillion dollars worldwide between 2020 and 2021.
Whilst the COVID pandemic accelerated this trend, using the internet to buy goods has already become second nature to many of us. The rise of the online marketplace is something that employers are keenly involved in, and make most of their goods and services accessible from in order to apply to the largest group of consumers.
And yet, if companies were to take a step back, they would see that there are 10 million people lacking basic digital skills in the UK alone. This is a vast pool of potential clients who are unable to access those online services and interact with the world of e-commerce, which is a large potential profit being lost, especially during the holidays when commercialism is booming.
Signposting and providing alternative options and channels for customers to communicate with your organization will help to open your virtual business doors to those who were previously being excluded as they didn’t know how, do not have, or cannot use the digital technology of today. Upskilling those staff who are customer-facing will also help widen communication abilities – but this brings into question the digital competency of your staff, too.
If we look more closely, there is a large potential pool of talent that is being iced out due to a lack of digital proficiency. The recent FutureDotNow report, which examined how many people could complete Lloyds’ Essential Digital Skills for Work tasks, found that only 32% of the UK workforce were able to complete all 17. And yet, a report published by Oxford Economics has discovered that by 2030, 75% of jobs will require advanced digital skills.
What we are seeing is that workers and consumers alike are yet to fully develop their digital abilities, and so if a company is not finding alternative ways to access these groups of people, then they are at risk of missing out on a large opportunity to increase their market scope as well as their hiring potential.
Employers should also consider offering training to new staff in their digital comprehension, as this will ensure that everyone has the desired skills they need to be able to successfully achieve at their place of employment. This also means that all the experience that has been gained from those older workers who are less tech-savvy will not go to waste, helping to further enrich and diversify your talent.
To discuss any of these topics further, or for guidance on how to create an accessible business model, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating the conditions which enable employees to be engaged and motivated should be a top priority for employers. Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce report, which found that only 21% of employees were actively engaged at work, sadly shed light on the fact that employee engagement is not being done effectively, or even prioritised, and the result is unhappy employees. This unhappiness will affect performance and will lead inevitably to unhappy customers and less successful business outcomes.
Employee engagement should be an important year-round focus, but we can do some things to help create a ‘reset’ at the beginning of the New Year and support our teams to reengage with their work. 16th January 2023 will be ‘Blue Monday’ in the UK, so called (and coined by a psychologist Cliff Arnall) because of people returning to work post-holiday to bad weather, debt and low levels of motivation. This does not apply to everyone of course, but how can employers help counteract this?
The end of year holiday period creates a ‘pause’ which people are often desperately looking forward to. With our ‘always on’ working lives, and what seems to have been an epidemic of overwork this year, many people are limping towards the finishing line of what has felt like the Marathon of 2022. The joy of having some rest time with family and friends also creates time and space for people to think about their lives, the good and the ‘not so good’, and in particular their work lives, and how this aligns with their personal aspirations.
Rather than just hoping that people will come back from their holidays refreshed and suddenly regain engagement, we are suggesting that employers need to be proactive this new year and enable a January ‘reset’.
A key part of a leader’s role is to tap into what motivates their people, to carry the torch for the organisational purpose and create excitement about what they are to achieve in 2023 through their ability to create an engaging story of what might be.
We would like to suggest a few things businesses can do to enable a reset:
My suggested reading for points 1. and 2. is ‘The Heart of Business’ by Hubert Joly – his personal playbook for achieving extraordinary outcomes by putting people and purpose at the heart of business.
A strong start to your business year can make all the difference and engaging in a January reset will have big business benefits. If you would like to discuss these and other ways to create this reset, you can get in touch with me at email@example.com
As the festive season settles, whispers of the staff holiday party will begin to circulate. A tradition amongst many companies, it is a chance for managers and team members alike to spend some sociable time together without the pressures of work. It can be a great night, but to ensure there are no incoming HR hazards, here are a few tips and tricks we have put together to keep things fun, festive, and appropriate:
However you end up celebrating with your employees, the best things to take away are to be inclusive to all and to make your team members aware of how much you value them. This is a great opportunity to strengthen interpersonal bonds and bring colleagues closer together, and to let your hair down! If you need advice and/or guidance on hosting your holiday party, you can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Often times, the mention of December will most likely be identified with Christmas – lights go up, grottos come out, employers across all sectors begin preparing for the rush of commercialism that accompanies this time of year.
But in reality, Christmas is just one of many festivities that is celebrated in December. And yet many companies will adopt this tunnel vision towards the Christian holiday and fail to acknowledge any others, despite the fact that their workforce could be made up of a diverse mix of team members who may have varying beliefs and traditions.
To be an inclusive employer, this requires recognizing that the holidays are woven with many varying celebrations. By doing so, you will be able to strengthen the interpersonal connections and increase collaboration amongst colleagues, which will create connectedness with your team as a whole.
There are many ways to start doing this – the simplest of them being fostering an environment where cross-cultural differences and similarities are regularly discussed – especially during holidays. Encouraging team members to share their beliefs means that others will know how best to greet them during this festive time. If team members know that their colleague is Jewish, they will make that effort to wish them a Happy Hanukkah, and if they know someone is Christian, they will say Merry Christmas. Or, if there are members of staff who celebrate nothing at this time, then a neutral ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s Greetings’ will suffice.
Similarly, if leaders are taking the time to get to know their team members on a personal level, their team members are going to feel seen, valued and heard, and this leads to feeling a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging is the gift that keeps on giving, and will in turn motivate team members to be talent scouts who invite those they care about to join their place of employment; the thought of quiet quitting will never even cross their mind.
Inclusivity in the holidays comes down to taking the time to know what is going on, know your team members, and making sure your team members know each other, too. December hosts Bodhi Day for those who are Buddhist, Winter Solstice for those who are Pagan, Hannukah for Jewish employees, Christmas for Christian employees and Kwanzaa for African American employees who celebrate this.
When decorating the office, there is no harm in pulling inspiration from all of these festivities – tinsel, menorah’s (although, for health and safety, not lit) and harvest baskets can make anyone celebrating feel that little bit more included, and this is a great way of keeping engagement and morale up during a particularly busy time of year for business.
It is about bridging that gap between tolerance and acceptance. Leaders do not want their team members feeling as if they are tolerant of their different beliefs, they want them to feel like they are accepted and respected in their workplace. Encouraging the team to get to know each other and ask how they would like to be greeted this holiday season will help solidify this acceptance mindset in your culture, and this will be a greatly positive force going forwards.
In the end, you will have a stronger team and an improved rapport with your people – and this can only have a positive knock-on effect for your business. If you need guidance on implementing inclusion strategies for the holidays or for the new year to come, get in touch with me at email@example.com