It’s not the technology, it’s you

Are you constantly tired during the pandemic time when everything is done remotely? Chances are we’re not doing it properly.

A recent article on BBC described that while we can connect to one another via technological means we are still doing it by imitating the normal connection that we have.

Neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote many books about his patients in his lifetime. In his book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat”, he talks about a patient losing her proprioception. Proprioception is commonly known as kind of a “sixth sense” and it basically lets a person know where their limbs and digits and other things are from one another without actually looking at them. This means that when you close your eyes you can still sense where your hand is.

The losing of proprioception caused the woman to have to consciously do everything. If she wanted to pick up a coffee cup she would have to concentrate on the cup and concentrate on actively bringing her hand towards it. While carrying the coffee she would at all times have to concentrate on not dropping the cup. If she were to smile she would have to separately set a “smiling face”. All in all, she’d have to imitate a lot of things that would otherwise come automatically.

The remote meeting software we use is kind of like that. It tries to imitate the human connection but we are still missing out quite a lot of cues, especially if we turn off the video. To connect to one another we must actively keep the discussion going because a silence between people in the same room still shows that we exist together. On a remote Teams meeting everybody else just “disappears” if nobody is talking.

So we use a lot of energy just to keep things going. When we subtract all the traveling we do during the day from one room to another and put meetings right after another we keep piling on the extra work.

No wonder we are completely drained.

So how would we tackle this? First of all, we should take breaks. After a meeting, your ears and eyes should have at least fifteen minutes just to recover from what you just did. We should add blocks of time where we are not available for meetings and keep that time to ourselves.

Most importantly when not on a computer we should do something tangible. Move around. Take walks. Look at something else than screen. Even reading a book is better because you’re not gazing at a screen that is bombarding your eyes with light.

Finally, let’s be merciful to ourselves and others. We’ll get through this.

Tuomas Peurakoski

About

Tuomas Peurakoski is Managing Consultant who has been working for Sogeti since 2013. His main interests are human psychology interacting with technological advancements and trying to figure out why he sees the world like he does. He has worked in many different fields in technology doing consulting, automation and QA. He is also the Finnish representative of Sogeti’s Global Automation Network and leads the Automation and DevOps in Sogeti Finland.

More on Tuomas Peurakoski.

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