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Microsoft’s Study Examines The Toll Back-To-Back Meetings Can Put On The Brain
By Izza Sofia, 22 Apr 2021
Image via Shutterstock
Microsoft has been pretty intrigued about how day-to-day work is changing amid the pandemic.
In the company's latest research, it seems to have an idea of what could happen when someone’s brain is subjected to two hours of meetings without breaks.
Its findings have supported what new remote workers already know: that back to-back-virtual meetings are stressful. Microsoft is thus also adding a customizable Outlook feature to set shorter meetings as a default and necessitate breaks before the next meeting begins.
For its study, 14 individuals took part in video meetings while wearing electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment to measure brain activity. The first day of the research saw them attending stretches of four half-hour meetings back to back. On another day, four half-hour meetings were interspersed with 10-minutes breaks.
The results showed that a lack of breaks resulted in spikes in the beta waves associated with stress building up near the transition periods between meetings.
Meanwhile, ample breaks allowed brains to reset and engage more effectively. Pictures of what the human brain actually looks like “on meeting” are in the full report.
“Our research shows breaks are important, not just to make us less exhausted by the end of the day, but to improve our ability to focus and engage while in those meetings,” said Michael Bohan, senior director of Microsoft’s human factors engineering group.
“Try not to use that five or 10 minutes to squeeze in some other kind of work,” Bohan said. “Catch your breath and take a break away from your screen.”
Automatically shorten the meetings you schedule: https://t.co/IbYHlMhgPL— Microsoft (@Microsoft) April 20, 2021
[via Business Insider, cover image via Shutterstock]
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