video call

Zooming Out

By Elisabeth Colson, Devry Smith Frank LLP

Sheltering in place is easier when needs can be met by a mouse-click, whether shopping, paying bills, or connecting with the outside world. Yet people are more frequently declining webinar invitations, and group catch-up calls now seem draining rather than fun. Yes, video fatigue is a “thing”.

The proliferation of video calls since the start of the pandemic has resulted in its own type of stress. Studies have shown that video calls require more concentration than do in-person meetings. It is more diffcult to stay focussed on a talking head. There are fewer body-language cues available. The screen freezes; people talk over one another. Digital communication is rarely spontaneous, and large group chats can impose the stress of needing to successfully perform in front of a group, without the relief of distractions provided by environmental surroundings.

With video calls now the professional and social norm, work and play are now blended virtually seamlessly, destroying the natural break between professional demands and socialising down-time.

As such, we risk losing the unique emotions and feelings evoked by a conversation with colleagues, versus those arising from conversations with friends or family.

However, unlike some of the other anxiety-producing effects of COVID-19, such as quarantine, self-isolation, and line-ups, one can control the decision of when and whether to Zoom. Zoom is a tool through which to achieve social interaction; it need not be the default go-to.

Send a hand-written note instead of meeting someone on Zoom. A phone call lets the participants concentrate only on the voice, reduces the feeling of a need to perform, and lets them walk around if they prefer. Try connecting in the manner intrinsically motivational to the other person: a coffee or a walk might foster a better connection than a video chat.

And sometimes, it is ok to turn off the cameras, and just enjoy your own company.

Elisabeth Colson

Elisabeth Colson

GGI member firm
Devry Smith Frank LLP
Law Firm Services
Toronto, Barrie and Whitby, Canada
T: +1 416 449 1400
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is a full-service Ontario-based Canadian law firm of over 70 lawyers. DSF has provided approachable, professional, and affordable service to its business, personal, and institutional clients since 1964.

Fluent in English and French, Elisabeth Colson is a member of the Bars of Quebec and Ontario. She is a Partner with Devry Smith Frank LLP and has extensive experience in a wide range of business law matters, including mergers and acquisitions, private placements, franchising, corporate reorganisations, and shareholder agreements.

Published: Business Development & Marketing, No. 10, Autumn 2020 l Photo: Drobot Dean -

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