Technology has allowed us to become easily accessible. The problem is, more often than not, people feel entitled to our time and expect an immediate response. The key thing to remember is to maintain boundaries around your time. Just because you are accessible does not make you available. Don’t feel rushed to reply to the email or text, even if you have the read receipt option on. Minimize stress and anxiety by practicing mindfulness and enjoy whatever you were doing before that call, text, or email came through; especially if it is after work hours and the weekend. Do this often enough and others will learn to adjust accordingly.
Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat, says Petriglieri. Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy. “Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,” he says.
What if, just what if..
The truth, as I heard from many of the newly remote workers I interviewed, is that as much as our offices can be inefficient, productivity-killing spreaders of infectious disease, a lot of people are desperate to get back to them. At the Zoom “happy hour” at GoNoodle, when the employees talked about their newly renovated office, they sounded wistful. They yearned for the tricked-out kitchen, the plants and big dark couches, ideal for lounging. “We had this killer sound system,” Tracy Coats said, with a sigh. She’s an extrovert, she said, who longs to hang out with her “peeps.” “You know — we’re drinking coffee, or maybe, Hey, want to take a walk? I miss that.”