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Expert: Zoom both 'gift and something that's worn us all out'; here's what to do about it

Brooke DiPalma
·Associate Producer
·2 min read

Zoom (ZM), Google’s Meet (GOOG) and Cisco’s Webex (CSCO) are all staples of the COVID-19 remote work reality, as millions of Americans clock in from home.

And while tele-working technology is a “gift” to help the professional class stay productive, the burnout is real, according to one expert.

“Zoom is both a gift and something that’s worn us all out for sure,” Sandra Kuhn, national leader of Mercer’s behavioral health practice, told Yahoo Finance in an interview this week.

With employees scattered across the country — or even the globe — there are less opportunities for candid, organic moments to happen. These include colleagues while quickly grabbing coffee or lunch to discuss work related issues.

However, Kuhn suggested there are other ways that employers can create these sort of interactions.

“Some of the best practices I’ve seen is to build options into the workday for people to engage and potentially do virtual games, have huddles, just talk about day-to-day things. Things that you might have done previously at the water cooler or when going out for a quick lunch,” the expert said.

Video call from home during lockdown (COURTESY: Getty Images)
Video call from home during lockdown (COURTESY: Getty Images)

‘Probably the biggest issue’

Although a new survey by Mercer (MMC) found that most respondents think WFH policy changes are temporary, soaring coronavirus cases around the globe are more than likely than not to extend the new normal for most workers.

And for people stuck in front of a computer all day, another minute on a video communications platform can feel dreadful, even if it’s just for a quick catchup. For this reason, Kuhn encourages employees to go old school by actually picking up the phone for something other than texting, tweeting or web surfing.

“I think that people sometimes forget that it’s really important to check in with their teams, and it doesn’t have to be by Zoom but can be by telephone, calling up people and asking how they’re doing,” Kuhn told Yahoo Finance.

“Especially for younger people living on their own independently and don’t have the family connections necessarily to support them...forgetting to check in on people for just day-to-day ‘how are you doing?’ is probably the biggest issue,” she added.

She also suggests that employers should review existing programs in place, evaluate the company’s employee assistance program (EAP), and ensure support is in place for managers and supervisors. Also, companies should identify gaps in technology and care programs for employee’s children, and encourage a culture of openness.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.

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