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This is real.Everyone is multitasking in the video conference

This is real.Everyone is multitasking in the video conference


etiquette Remote work meetings are strange. You don’t have to wear pants, but it seems impolite and disrespectful to let your eyes dart around the screen, it’s a gift for you to be distracted by another digital task. Moreover, once the camera is turned off, multitasking means you can fold clothes, buy groceries or do whatever else needs to be done.

If you tend to multitask in a video conference, you are not alone.A new study Microsoft Employees find that people perform multitasking more frequently in large and long meetings. Compared with regular meetings, multitasking occurs more frequently in repetitive meetings. Meetings held in the morning have a higher multitasking rate than meetings at other times of the day, and in a video conference of more than 80 minutes, the multitasking time is six times that of a meeting of 20 minutes or less.

This week, Microsoft shared details of the largest multitasking and remote team research to date, which is a Microsoft task. Human-Computer Interaction Conference.Researchers from Amazon, Microsoft and University College London checked the logs of Outlook email and OneDrive cloud file activity of nearly 100,000 Microsoft employees in the United States to understand how often and why people perform multitasking in video conferences.

Microsoft Chief Scientist Jaime Teevan said: “Remote meetings have the opportunity to participate in “differentiated” meetings. “If the meeting is recorded, you can skip the meeting and watch the meeting at twice the speed. You can make it play in the background while you are doing other things and listening to the main points. “

Studies have shown that multitasking during virtual meetings is a coping mechanism that can protect people’s mental health from too many virtual meetings. The lead author and Microsoft Research intern Cao Hancheng said that the results show that employers need to adopt a more flexible attitude towards multitasking in remote teams. The occasional eyes of your colleague running on the screen may not be impolite, but research shows that with the accumulation and delay of virtual meetings, “people seem to have very little time left to focus on work, so they devote themselves to work The habit of catching up in multi-tasking.”

Log data It was collected between February 2020 and May 2020, during which time Microsoft became a completely remote workforce. Whenever someone in a Microsoft Teams video call sends, forwards or responds to emails or edits files such as PowerPoint presentations or Excel spreadsheets saved in OneCloud, the operation is recorded as multitasking. (Many multitasking functions cannot be detected using this method, such as reading emails or scrolling social media.) The study found that in 30% of meetings, people send emails.

In order to explore the specific ways people multitask, the research co-authors reviewed Journal Or a statement written by approximately 700 Microsoft employees in the United States and abroad at about the same time. About 15% of diary respondents said they believe that multitasking can improve their productivity.

Some multitasking (such as taking notes or viewing documents under discussion) can help people stay focused. But the diary also shows that people are exercising, playing video games and watching cat videos. These can be called distractions, but respondents described these activities as coping styles or their responses to meetings that are not related to them.

The diary also advises many people to multitask to keep up. As a Microsoft employee said: “This needs to happen, otherwise you will not be able to complete all the work.” Four out of ten diary respondents said that they must work during the meeting to deal with the transition from home to virtual meetings Your schedule when you are at home. The co-authors of the study said that multitasking to meet productivity needs can lead to mental fatigue and lead people to show disrespect for others.


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