LEARNING BY THE WATER-COOLER: Episode 6


LEARNING IS EVERYTHING and everything is learning.


FAMILY, friends, work. The three core pillars that support and define our lives. Three separate entities, a complex trio of the ties that bind us, yet for so many, they all exist in the same space now. They live on Zoom.

It’s like walking into a bar and meeting your parents, then ordering a beer and putting the world to rights with your best buddy, before quickly reprising this week’s project status with your boss.


All in one night.


If that happened back in 2019 we’d have considered it a pretty weird evening. Yet now it’s a 'new' normal day. Is it any wonder that in 2021 Zoom fatigue has now become a very real phenomenon?


Zoom fatigue is a new and unfamiliar challenge. It’s time to read the room and recognize the draining effect of too many hours spent by the computer screen. There is mounting evidence of remote workers feeling more drained now by 5pm than they ever did at the end of a day in the office. Why? Well, there are no more whispered conversations with a colleague to catch up in the conference room after your attention drifted off. Nope, you’re staring intently at the speaker on screen trying to ignore the fact that out of their sight-line, your German Schnauzer is eating your running shoes. Again.


Looking unblinking at your boss, or the facilitator, and trying to convince them you’re hanging on their every word so you don’t appear rude. That’s not how we normally process information. Take a second and think about how silence — a natural part of the cadence of our “real life” conversations — feels on a Zoom call. It’s excruciating. You start checking if the technology is working.


In 2014, a study by German academics showed even a delay of 1.2 seconds on phone or conferencing systems shaped how we felt about the person on the other end of the line. It made us feel they were less focused or friendly. We’re starting to judge people by how good their internet provider is!


Just pause (in silence) and consider what's happening to us; a learning moment for certain.

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