Stop With the Video Chats Already. Just Make a Voice Call.
Kanebridge News
Share Button

Stop With the Video Chats Already. Just Make a Voice Call.

Research shows frequent videoconferences can sap your brain and deplete your energy.

By JOANNA STERN
Fri, May 28, 2021 11:13amGrey Clock 4 min

Dear colleague and/or friend:

I’d love to do a call about this. And by “call” I mean absolutely NOT a video call. Let’s do a call-call. You know, those old things where we just hear each other’s beautiful voices. Whatever you do, don’t touch that webcam.

Looking forward to (audio) chatting,

Joanna

The time has come to be bold: Stop the nonstop video calling.

Allow me to remind you of the BPE (you know, the Before-Pandemic Era), a time long ago when every call didn’t require colour-coding your bookshelf background, firing up the webcam and staring into a human tic-tac-toe board for hours on end. Video calls used to be a rare treat. Now, they’re everyday soul suckers.

Really. There’s vampirical—I mean, empirical—proof. A high frequency of video calling can cause general, social, emotional, visual and motivational fatigue, researchers at the University of Gothenburg and Stanford University found in a recent study. Even Zoom’s chief executive, Eric Yuan, says he suffers from the dreaded “Zoom Fatigue.”

Look, I’m not saying all video calling must stop. I love video calling. Instantly see and hear people with little to no delay? It’s miraculous. My mom, who is hearing-impaired, struggled throughout my childhood to hear me on the phone. Now, she can see my son wherever she is, and the visual cues help her tremendously.

I’m just saying audio calls can be more productive—and they can sound better than ever.

But how do you know when to pick voice over video? And how do you make it happen without being the meeting jerk who just refuses to turn on the camera? After talking to researchers and technologists—and cutting back on my own video calls—I present you with five steps to regain your sanity.

Step 1: Ask, should this meeting just be an email?

Fact: There are too many meetings. So I beg of you, before deciding on the technological format, simply ask: Do we really need to meet at all?

Step 2: Understand the benefits of audio vs. video

Géraldine Fauville, an assistant professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the lead researcher on that aforementioned study, mapped out the main reasons video can be so cognitively draining:

• It’s a lot of looking at ourselves, which is unnatural and comes with self-evaluation and scrutiny. Called the mirror effect, this can be particularly intense for women. You can combat this with the self-hide option available in Zoom and Google Meet. Google has just added a number of features to address this specifically. Microsoft Teams’ new Together Mode was built to combat this, too.

• It’s a lot of close-up eye contact. In fact, the brain processes that sort of invasion of space as if it should lead to mating or fighting.

• It’s a lot of sitting and feeling trapped. You can’t get up and walk around during a video call.

• It’s a lot of nodding. “For you to communicate cues to the participant, you need to intensify the cues,” Dr. Fauville said. “So people nod more vigorously than if they were in the same room.”

No wonder we’re exhausted. So yes, limiting the number and length of video calls seems like the obvious answer. And as some of us kick-start the hybrid work life, that will happen naturally.

But voice calls aren’t just table scraps from our work-from-home buffet. They allow you to focus on what’s being said and give you real respite from the screen. I now do my weekly call with my boss on the phone. We reserve video for deeper conversations, like performance reviews.

I also still like to do video calls with colleagues I haven’t caught up with for a while, or for important meetings where reading facial expressions is crucial.

Step 3: Be clear it’s an audio call

You’ve decided that voice is the way to go for a call, now you’ve got to convey that to others.

Don’t waste precious meeting time having an awkward convo about this; be straight up before the call. “Hey, I’d like to do voice—no video—for this call. Work for you?” You can even put it on me: “I read this wonderful column in The Wall Street Journal about how too many video calls are bad.”

In a survey of employees, the University of California, Berkeley, found that 77% multitask during video calls. I called that out in a recent calendar invite: “Let’s do voice-only for this one,” I wrote to my colleagues. “We’re all going to cover each other’s faces with other windows on the screen anyway!” (Yep, we can see all of you, looking over at your second monitor!)

Step 4: Make the call

Even though I made my voice-call preferences known to my colleagues, I’m not just reaching for my phone. In fact, I’ve used all the big videoconferencing services—sans video. Zoom, Google Meet, Slack, FaceTime, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger all produce stable and clear calls if you have a good connection. Most sound better than cellular—especially if you have a good mic. But the best choice is however you can most easily reach your contact.

Slack has become my go-to for work. Since most of the folks already are there all day, it’s great for mimicking the quick desk drop-by. Hit the phone button and it automatically defaults to a voice call. (To add video, you have to tap the video icon.) With Slack audio use surging in the past year, the company has been piloting new group-audio features, an office variation of Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces.

Slack is also looking at ways to improve audio quality and make it easier to switch between desktop and mobile calls, Ali Rayl, the company’s vice president of product and customer experience, told me.

Call-quality-wise, FaceTime audio consistently sounds the best to me. I often talk to my editor via Apple’s service and he sounds crystal clear. The downside? Apple devices only.

Step 5: Try no-video days

“The responsibility of limiting Zoom fatigue is not just on the individuals,” Dr. Fauville told me. “We hope our findings inspire companies to rethink videoconferencing.”

So far, so good. Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser has started “Zoom-free Fridays,” a day free of internal video calls. The University of California, Berkeley, for the past year, has said no recurring meetings—of any kind—on Friday afternoons.

You may want to try a similar policy. Or at the very least start perfecting those extremely polite “You don’t want to see my face and I don’t want to see your face” emails.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 26, 2021.



MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Money
New York Watch Auctions Record Uptick in Sales in the Face of Market Slowdown
By LAURIE KAHLE 24/06/2024
Money
The Crazy Economics of the World’s Most Coveted Handbag
By CAROL RYAN 24/06/2024
Lifestyle
Why It’s Easier Than You Think to Score a Coveted Table When Visiting Paris for the Olympics
By SHIVANI VORA 23/06/2024
New York Watch Auctions Record Uptick in Sales in the Face of Market Slowdown
By LAURIE KAHLE
Mon, Jun 24, 2024 4 min

Luxury watch collectors showed ongoing strong demand for Patek Philippe, growing interest in modern watches and a preference for larger case sizes and leather straps at the June watch sales in New York, according to an analysis of the major auctions.

Independent and neo-vintage categories, meanwhile, experienced declines in total sales and average prices, said the report from  EveryWatch, a global online platform for watch information. Overall, the New York auctions achieved total sales of US$52.27 million, a 9.87% increase from the previous year, on the sale of 470 lots, reflecting a 37% increase in volume. Unsold rates ticked down a few points to 5.31%, according to the platform’s analysis.

EveryWatch gathered data from official auction results for sales held in New York from June 5 to 10 at Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s. Limited to watch sales exclusively, each auction’s data was reviewed and compiled for several categories, including total lots, sales and sold rates, highest prices achieved, performance against estimates, sales trends in case materials and sizes as well as dial colors, and more. The resulting analysis provides a detailed overview of market trends and performance.

The Charles Frodsham Pocket watch sold at Phillips for $433,400.

“We still see a strong thirst for rare, interesting, and exceptional watches, modern and vintage alike, despite a little slow down in the market overall,” says Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of the California-based pre-owned online watch dealer BobsWatches.com, in an email. “The results show that there is still a lot of money floating around out there in the economy looking for quality assets.”

Patek Philippe came out on top with more than US$17.68 million on the sale of 122 lots. It also claimed the top lot: Sylvester Stallone’s Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime 6300G-010, still in the sealed factory packaging, which sold at Sotheby’s for US$5.4 million, much to the dismay of the brand’s president, Thierry Stern . The London-based industry news website WatchPro estimates the flip made the actor as much as US$2 million in just a few years.

At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire
Richard Mille

“As we have seen before and again in the recent Sotheby’s sale, provenance can really drive prices higher than market value with regards to the Sylvester Stallone Panerai watches and his standard Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1a offered,” Altieri says.

Patek Philippe claimed half of the top 10 lots, while Rolex and Richard Mille claimed two each, and Philippe Dufour claimed the No. 3 slot with a 1999 Duality, which sold at Phillips for about US$2.1 million.

“In-line with EveryWatch’s observation of the market’s strong preference for strap watches, the top lot of our auction was a Philippe Dufour Duality,” says Paul Boutros, Phillips’ deputy chairman and head of watches, Americas, in an email. “The only known example with two dials and hand sets, and presented on a leather strap, it achieved a result of over US$2 million—well above its high estimate of US$1.6 million.”

In all, four watches surpassed the US$1 million mark, down from seven in 2023. At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire, the most expensive watch sold at Christie’s in New York. That sale also saw a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM52-01 CA-FQ Tourbillon Skull Model go for US$1.26 million to an online buyer.

Rolex expert Altieri was surprised one of the brand’s timepieces did not crack the US$1 million threshold but notes that a rare Rolex Daytona 6239 in yellow gold with a “Paul Newman John Player Special” dial came close at US$952,500 in the Phillips sale.

The Crown did rank second in terms of brand clout, achieving sales of US$8.95 million with 110 lots. However, both Patek Philippe and Rolex experienced a sales decline by 8.55% and 2.46%, respectively. The independent brand Richard Mille, with US$6.71 million in sales, marked a 912% increase from the previous year with 15 lots, up from 5 lots in 2023.

The results underscored recent reports of prices falling on the secondary market for specific coveted models from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. The summary points out that five top models produced high sales but with a fall in average prices.

The Rolex Daytona topped the list with 42 appearances, averaging US$132,053, a 41% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, with two of the top five watches, made 26 appearances with an average price of US$111,198, a 26% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar followed with 23 appearances and a US$231,877 average price, signifying a fall of 43%, and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak had 22 appearances and an average price of US$105,673, a 10% decrease. The Rolex Day Date is the only watch in the top five that tracks an increase in average price, which at US$72,459 clocked a 92% increase over last year.

In terms of categories, modern watches (2005 and newer) led the market with US$30 million in total sales from 226 lots, representing a 53.54% increase in sales and a 3.78% increase in average sales price over 2023. Vintage watches (pre-1985) logged a modest 6.22% increase in total sales and an 89.89% increase in total lots to 169.

However, the average price was down across vintage, independent, and neo-vintage (1990-2005) watches. Independent brands saw sales fall 24.10% to US$8.47 million and average prices falling 42.17%, while neo-vintage watches experienced the largest decline in sales and lots, with total sales falling 44.7% to US$8.25 million, and average sales price falling 35.73% to US$111,000.

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Property
Property of the Week: 5903/1A Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
By Josh Bozin 19/06/2024
Money
New York Watch Auctions Record Uptick in Sales in the Face of Market Slowdown
By LAURIE KAHLE 24/06/2024
Lifestyle
Aston Martin Refines Its Exotic Family Car
By Jim Motavalli 15/06/2024
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop