Do Zoom Meetings Reduce Creativity? Science Says Yes.

Updated On: 

news week 11 july 16 july feature
  • Recent research shows that zoom meetings hinder creativity in the workplace.
  • Experts suggest measures to reduce zoom fatigue and boost workplace creativity.

The post-pandemic hybrid work models

The COVID-19 era and the post-pandemic period have pushed hybrid work models to the forefront. These models combine both online and offline interaction—thereby allowing the perks of:

  • Remote work
  • Reduced housing costs
  • Lower commuting time
  • Flexible working hours
  • Sustainable use of digital resources

However, such models also make heavy use of video conferencing tools and, as recent studies show, there are cognitive costs of virtual interaction.

The downside of Zoom meetings

A 2022 study published in the journal Nature surveyed the differences in the physical nature of videoconferencing and in-person interactions. The researchers examined factors like eye movement, recollection abilities, creativity and idea generation, etc.

It was found that virtual interaction in online zoom meetings comes with a cognitive cost for creative idea generation. They further elaborated that “videoconferencing hampers idea generation because it focuses communicators on a screen, which prompts a narrower cognitive focus.”

Experts have included this as one of the tell-tale signs of “Zoom fatigue” or the exhaustion from ‘too many’ Zoom meetings. The other symptoms include:

  • Reduced social interaction
  • Reduced mobility
  • Tiring cognitive load
  • Excessive and intense close-up eye contact
  • Higher levels of stress
  • Greater communication problems
  • Less successful conflict management

Measures to combat Zoom fatigue

With social distancing and lockdowns becoming norms, it is easy to comprehend that the future is virtual. Zoom meetings and web-based interactions would skyrocket more in the days to come and, therefore, experts have recommended measures to lessen (if not prevent) the decrease in creativity associated with Zoom fatigue. These include:

  • Avoiding multitasking
  • Keeping online meetings short
  • Using simple backgrounds or muting the screen
  • Making virtual social events optional
  • Planning better environments for remote work
  • Creating opportunities for in-person social interaction outside of the office

They also admit that frequent practice, research, and experimentation with video conferencing tools and online interactive methods can slowly help us manage better Zoom fatigue and its side effects.

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