What We Are Reading
August 2020

What If Working from Home Goes on … Forever? by Clive Thompson

Illustration by Max Guther

Fewer interruptions, no commute, more time for deep thinking. Studies show a powerful correlation between telecommuting and job satisfaction. People love the flexibility in setting work hours, more time with family and reduced distractions. What they don’t love is the ‘Zoom fatigue’ of endless videoconferencing. The author explores how the poor design of Zoom et al. contribute to this burnout. These apps violate our normal use of “eye-gaze”. We constantly, and creepily, stare at one another for fear of seeming rude. All this staring is exhausting and makes it hard to achieve “synchrony”, crucial to feeling connected to our conversation partner. And who can resist the distracting image of ourselves featured prominently (why?) on most app screens? Despite this awkward adolescent phase of video calling, the horse has left the barn – many companies have offered to let folks work remotely permanently, something to consider as organizations continue to compete for talent.

HIGHLIGHT(S): People are already inventing clever adaptions to make video calls less strained. One psychiatrist and his patient each face sideways, so neither is staring at the other. It captures the style of their previous in-person sessions and “works surprisingly well.”

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/09/magazine/remote-work-covid.html?searchResultPosition=1

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