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Meeting hygiene

Recommendation on hygiene for digital meetings at KTH.

Background

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the need to hold digital meetings has increased. For certain functions within KTH, the number of meetings has increased as we have switched from physical to digital. As we no longer need to go physically between meetings, the opportunity to put meetings on top of each other without a break in between has also increased. From a work environment point of view, many employees find it more strenuous to meet digitally than physically.

Research has identified four main reasons why digital meetings can cause fatigue in humans:

  • Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact.
  • Seeing yourself in real-time during the meetings. 
  • Drastic reduction of our usual mobility.
  • Much higher cognitive load than at physical meetings.

Source: news.stanford.edu/2021/02/23/four-causes-zoom-fatigue-solutions/

Purpose

Conduct meetings in a way that reduces the risk of strain on the employee.

The HR department's recommendations

Planning

  • Agree in the working group on common rules for digital common sense and etiquette, for example, for video conferencing and chat. Many people may have different opinions about this. Document what you have decided.
  • Is there a possibility that a given person or function/several can join the meeting only with sound? In such cases, the meeting leader can inform about it, and then create the opportunity for a given function to, for example, take a walk at the same time.
  • Schedule a short break every 45 minutes on the agenda for longer meetings.
    • During a break, you should leave the computer screen and move.
  • To enable a break for the participants between meetings:
    • Schedule a meeting start at a normally deviating time. For example, 13.15 instead of 13.00
    • Schedule the end of the meeting at a normally deviating time. For example, 13.45 instead of 14.00
    • Change position, stand up and feel free to move between meetings.

Before meetings

  • Set rules of conduct:
    • Should all participants check in at the beginning of the meeting and show up with picture? Can any participant then participate only through sound? Or should all participants show up throughout the meeting?
    • How does the speaker get the floor?
    • Is it okay to have the picture turned off periodically?
  • Turn off the function where you see yourself (self-view), and show your picture only to other participants if necessary.
  • Experiment with full screen mode versus minimized mode to get variation in what size you see other participants' images.
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Last changed: Oct 18, 2021