June 20, 2020
Since the beginning of the pandemic, work, school, and friendship have been compartmentalized into a handful of platforms of distance communication which accompany the majority of our hours awake.
This text is part of the special issue to mental Health
Given that telework is now the norm, the Québécois have never spent time in front of screens. All those hours spent online have direct consequences on their mental health ? Experts point us.
“Meetings, rehearsals, theatre, courses and training,through yoga, or workout to keep in shape, and the little movie in the evening… I see a blur at the moment. Seriously ! ” said with a sigh the actress Véronique Pascal.
The entrepreneur Simon Marseille deplores the lack of personal contact to share the emotions,not to mention the confusion and the enforced slowness of the applications.
They are not the only ones. Since the beginning of the pandemic, work, school, and friendship have been compartmentalized into a handful of platforms of distance communication which accompany the majority of our hours awake.
Technology brings a lot of benefits, but there is a price to pay. “Eight hours a day in front of a screen, it is too much,” says François Courcy, professor in the Department of psychology of the University of Sherbrooke. It is normal to get tired when we spend hours doing the same thing. “
The brain registers the appetizers, Zoom, business meetings and fitness sessions as being the same activity : watching a computer screen or phone.
Moreover, telework has a perverse effect of prolonging the working hours. “The people are very powerful have the impression that they are not doing enough and will therefore tend to do more than when they were in the office,” says Christine Grou, director of the Order of psychologists of Quebec.
The behavior is also explained by the disappearance of the borders between work and home. The concentration is therefore strongly diminished.
Employers can help their teams by providing them with deliverables that are more tangible and more feedback on their performance.
François Courcy note a strong decrease of attention among its university students. Like many internet users, they commit the mistake of staying on the screen between meetings or classes.
In normal times, the professionals migrating from meeting to meeting into different rooms, taking the time to make a coffee, in the same way that the students will make a hook at their locker before the next class. Here, the change of environment does not take place.
In the evening, the behavior repeats itself : we sit to listen to the last series Netflix for fashion while scrolling through our multiple social media.
The fragmentation of social interactions
In addition, the conferences Zoom to proceed through the interactions of markers of psychosocial and non-verbal cues are crucial. “There are a lot of things that do not perceive themselves more, who does not say more, which means that it focuses much more on the task than humans,” says Christine Grou.
François Courcy recommends resolving this dissonance by keeping his camera turned on : “It is important to be able to perceive the non-verbal reactions of the people. The feedback by the video capture is not only useful, but it also makes the experience more enjoyable and user-friendly. “
On a note of hope, Christine Grou points out that the current situation is adaptation rather than transformation. François Courcy is also of the opinion that the overabundance of virtual meetings will not last forever. He advocates, rather, a culture where the direct, the deferred and ultimately the in-person contact will be able to co-exist.
How to rest his brain ?
• Divide up the work of the rest : Christine Grou offers to make a clear break between the work and the activities of the evening by taking a walk for thirty minutes. This can be overridden by a session of reading or listening to music, as long as the activity is different and relaxing, and marks a transition. “The room where one sits should not be the same as the one in which we work “, she adds.
• To diversify the activities : according to our main occupation, we also make sure to practice an activity to rest, which invites the faculties inverse of our brain. For example, a person who performs a lot of work from a desktop will refresh more by practicing a sport, an instrument, or cooking in his free time. “It should stimulate other “muscles” of the brain. It is the nature of the activity carried out, which will come to actually decrease the effect of the fatigue related to the screens, ” explains François Courcy.
• Perform a single task at a time : ” Even if the temptation is great, no need to do household chores while listening to a presentation “, said François Courcy. It is better to devote to the activity to alleviate the burden of cognitive.