As employees across Canada continue to be forced to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly half of them are reporting very high levels of exhaustion, a new study has found. The study was conducted by Virtira Consulting (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and revealed that 49% of employees experienced a high degree of exhaustion from being required or pressured to be on camera during online meetings.
The Webcam Survey: Exhausted or Engaged? provided insights from over 1,700 companies on the well-being of managers and employees about the direct impact that company policies have on the use of video during online meetings. The survey also examined whether other factors contributed to the high incidence of reported employee exhaustion. As businesses adapt and learn from the remote work experiment, many have implemented policies regarding remote work based on opinion rather than data – causing a negative impact on employees – the report pointed out.
“Our research shows the impact that remote work and COVID-19 have had on how managers are meeting with their teams,” said Virtira CEO Cynthia Watson (formerly Cynthia Spraggs). “In my conversations with business leaders throughout the pandemic, the majority said that employees on webcams during meetings increased engagement and productivity, but our study clearly shows it can have the opposite effect.” The timely survey comes at a time when remote work is increasingly a mainstay of business life around the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Especially with up to 80% of businesses reporting that they will move towards a fully remote or hybrid/flex model in the future, understanding what policies create effective and productive WFH and office-based employees is going to be critical moving forward – if businesses want to increase productivity and move beyond the pandemic,” Watson added.
Some other key findings revealed include:
- Over 49% of individuals reported being exhausted due to being on a webcam. With current estimates of over 25 million employees working from home, and another 41 million at the office or in a flexible commuting arrangement, this means that the rate of exhaustion could exist in over 30 million people.
- 61% of those surveyed reported that all meetings they attend are conducted on video for all participants.
- Over 60% reported that the number of meetings they attend has increased significantly since the pandemic.
- Over 65% of responses indicate that being on video is best used for team engagement and connection. However, only 11% reported that the camera was used this way.
- Over 25% reported feeling peer pressure to put on their cameras even if it was not a requirement.
Virtira Consulting provides advisory and professional services to some of the world’s largest companies to increase remote-team productivity. The firm restructures how remote teams meet, collaborate and communicate in order to drive results – with an emphasis on enterprise sales, operations and marketing.