Aussie Entrepreneurs Fight Global Zoom Fatigue With New Tech

A start-up has the antidote for people’s work-from-home (WFH) woes, including a clever video loop (‘On Hold’) so they can sneak away from their Zoom calls without anybody realising

With more than 18 years in the tech space, developer Ben Flux created the Mindfulmeets app with co-founder Karina Castex after seeing their colleagues struggle with prolonged screen time during the pandemic. 

The world-first free Chrome browser extension, designed to enhance video calls with a slew of mindful features, now has more than 3,000 users around the world, including the U.S. where half the population continues to work from home. 

“Having a tech team situated globally, we were needing to navigate different time zones, varying lifestyles, and the day-to-day realities of working remotely,” Flux said. “I started to think of ways to simulate the in-person interactions we had been missing that help us survive the workday. As humans, we need technology that considers how we operate and live as well as the value of time.”

Features include the ability to record a short video loop, so people can appear present while they grab a coffee or answer the door. 

Mindfulmeets can also create virtual agendas to keep discussions focused or send reminders to ensure meetings don’t run into overtime.  

“Without face-to-face interactions, we’re seeing an increase in people feeling overwhelmed, irritable and anxious — presenting a challenge to most modern workplaces,” said Castex.

Research conducted by Mindfulmeets to identify the top frustrations experienced by remote-working revealed overrun and unstructured meetings, the lack of quality social interaction, and the quantity of meetings were key pain points.

With video meetings inescapable, the reality of mental fatigue poses a real threat to users’ mental health and the productiveness of businesses and education providers. 

Susan Long, registered psychologist and Clinical Services Manager with Workplace Wellness Australia, agrees that a mentally healthy workplace recognises the unique needs of its employees. 

“Moving to working online and offsite from the physical workplace increased a sense of isolation and aloneness for many people,” said Long. “Without the reinforcement of connection through eye contact, the brain needs to work harder than it would typically in a face-to-face interaction, causing people to feel fatigued. Staying well is important to work effectively and workplaces that can introduce a more psychologically appropriate format of how meetings progress are invaluable.” 

The extension currently includes the capability for people to:

  • Put themselves “On Hold,” letting them create a video loop so they can step away from the keyboard; 
  • Add meeting agendas;
  • See the profile of all attendees;
  • Share emojis and gifs;
  • See everyone’s time zones; and
  • Gracefully exit and enter meetings with helpful prompters visible to everyone on the call

To download the free extension for Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, visit https://www.getmindfulmeets.com/. 

Source: Mindfulmeets