These last few days, inspired by Geert Lovink’s upcoming essay on Zoom Fatigue, I’ve been thinking a lot about videoconferencing and telework. And then today I was asked to borrow a non-Linux machine to participate in a live talk because Teams’ “Live” function is not supported by the Linux version of the software. Lock-ins ahead. Luckily, the other speaker is also a Linux user so we didn’t have to feel weirdos… Anyway, everybody seems to agree: videoconferencing is exhausting. But how can one turn exhaustion into a political demand? My proposal is to consider videoconference work (Zoom, Teams, Skype) from the prism of recovery time, namely, the time needed to regain mental and bodily energies. My empirical assumption is that videoconference work (Zoom, Teams, Skype) requires twice as much of recovery time as the same activity performed in a physical setting or as regular, async digital communication (email, chat, etc.). And what is recovery time if not just another name for work? If that is the case, one can formulate a concise slogan reminiscent of the “8 hours labor, 8 hours recreation, 8 hours rest” one. Here’s some versions of it:
1h call = 2h work
Not sure which one works best. I tend to like the one with work because it logically leads to a reduction of working hours. But then I’m also a fan of the exploding head. I also realize that the one with the hammer and wrench, if taken literally, brings in the complexities of physical vs mental labor… So I leave the choice to you, dear asynchronous reader.