BENGALURU: Rohit T had always thought logging into work online would be perfect solution to beating the traffic jam and the moods it brought on. What he hadn’t imagined is the overdose and fatigue it would come with. “My phone is always beeping with notifications, and I find myself spending hours on video calls,” says the investment banker.
Virtual communication fatigue is for real, and barely three months into this new world order where going digital is the norm, Bengalureans already seem to be exhausted. While Dr B Kapur, consultant psychiatrist, Vikram Hospital Bengaluru, was coming across about 7-10 clients complaining of this issue, the lockdown increased the numbers by three times. “Most of them are software professionals complaining of more work than they can handle. This means more video calls, emails and even recreation is social media. All this tires the brain,” he says.
Health professionals who have been coming across increasing numbers of this new syndrome point to anxiety, overconsciousness, sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion. “The IT industry, school and healthcare have all moved to the virtual world to keep their business acumen in place. But there are WiFi issues, call drops during meetings, and network issues. People are overly conscious about the statement their managers make as they can’t keep asking the sentences to be repeated.
So there’s a lot of strain,” says Dr Pallavi Joshi, consultant psychiatrist, Manipal Hospital, Whitefield, who pegs the increase of this issues by 50 per cent. In addition, employees are cautious about the background set-up of the house, the members and regular chores that are going on inside the house even as the front camera is on during meetings. “All of these take a toll,” she says.
According to Dr Girish Chandra, senior consultant, Psychiatry, Aster CMI Hospital, this is a new issue that has come up during the lockdown. “Now around 30 per cent of cases that we are seeing on a regular basis are having similar problems,” he says, suggesting mandatory breaks away from the workstation at regular intervals. “Talk to your family members or may be take a power nap. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by work and manage the stress level by being more strategic at work. Refresh your minds with other creative ways,” he says.
Agrees Bhavin Turakhia, founder and CEO at Flock, a workplace collaboration platform, who points to ‘workplace burnout’, which has taken an all-new meaning. “While working from home has been a sought-after perk, we have entered a new reality of frequent online meetings and an inability to disconnect from the job. With the array of communication platforms available, employees are continuously connected virtually and this overload is draining them out,” he says.
- Set a deadline and create an itinerary for every video call
- Block your front camera
- Turn off notifications
- Take time off from ‘virtually’ being connected