Dealing with the Downside of AI for Remote Workers: Increased Boredom

AI technology has made virtual meetings boring, which you will need to prepare for.
what to do when ai leads to boring video conferencing
Shutterstock Photo License - Girts Ragelis

Artificial intelligence has led to some significant changes in the workplace. AI has been especially impactful for employees that worked remotely.

Most of the benefits of artificial intelligence for remote workers have been positive. However, AI technology has had some frustrating consequences as well. One of the biggest issues is that advances in AI technology have led to many people getting bored, especially during virtual meetings.

Rice University Professor Moshe Vardi talked about this in the article HOW WILL HUMANS HANDLE THE BOREDOM THAT COMES WITH A.I. TAKING THEIR JOBS?. While they made some great points, they neglected to point out that boredom is already happening for people that are having some elements of their job streamlined by AI, even if it isn’t making their jobs obsolete. This includes people working remotely.

It is important for people to be aware of the effect that AI has had on their mental health while working from home. This will help them adjust their workplace habits to minimize problems caused by boredom.

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AI is a double edge sword for some remote employees in virtual meetings

TechTarget has listed several major benefits artificial intelligence has created for remote work communications. One of the benefits is that it makes it a lot easier to take notes. Machine learning tools have enabled remote workers to convert speech from video conversations into text, so they don’t have to record notes as much.

However, this has also made it easier for people to get bored during meetings. They don’t have to stay as busy to be productive during the meeting, which can make it easier for their brains to get annoyed by the monotony.

The good news is that there are steps that people can take to minimize the risk of getting bored during meetings as AI streamlines the processes.

Dealing with Boredom During Virtual Meetings

In the past couple of years, videoconference calls went from being a rare treat to a weekly occurrence. Over this time, many employees developed what is being referred to as “Zoom fatigue.” Simply put, Zoom meetings, especially at a high frequency, aren’t always fun. This is one of the downsides of a society increasingly reliant on AI.

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A lot of time is often wasted in meetings. Whether it’s because they’re held too frequently or they are not engaging, there’s not much you can do. However, there are some ways that you can survive those Zoom calls without dying of boredom each time. Here’s what you can do to make your next videoconference call more bearable:

Follow an Agenda

If you are in charge of organizing team meetings over Zoom, you should always prepare a meeting agenda in advance. A proper meeting agenda helps keep the call on track. Distractions and sidenotes can quickly derail a meeting, causing it to run longer than necessary, which isn’t fun for anyone.

If you’re simply attending the meeting, draft your own meeting agenda to send as a suggestion. Your supervisor may appreciate the additional effort you put in to improve team meetings. It might even become your role to organize future gatherings. This will add more responsibility to your workday, but it will be worth the effort to have organized meetings.

Part of your agenda should include preparation for the meeting. For example, require all participants to do a “tech check” beforehand to prevent pauses due to technical difficulties. Such delays can quickly bore the crowd and slow down a meeting. The good news is that AI has made it easier to check your technology for issues without having unnecessary, awkward delays.

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Take Notes Manually

We mentioned that it is possible to use AI to synthesize speech into text. However, it is a good idea to take notes manually, even if machine learning can do the job for you. This doesn’t just keep your brain more occupied – you will also reduce the risk of missing anything being too dependent on AI.

If you typically struggle to stay focused during Zoom calls, try taking notes to keep yourself engaged. This simple action forces your brain to focus on the content of the meeting. In addition, to take accurate notes you must actively listen to speakers which will keep you engaged.

Note-taking can also add value to your meeting experience. After the meeting concludes, look back on the notes you’ve taken. There may be some useful information that you’ll be glad you didn’t miss by tuning out. For instance, it’s vital to know the details of an upcoming project or deadline. Your notes will help you remember these important pieces of information.

Complete Menial Tasks

Unfortunately, not all meetings are productive. You may feel trapped in a pointless meeting and unable to focus completely on your work. If this occurs, it’s probably OK to complete a few menial tasks on the side. As long as you keep one ear on the action, there’s no reason you can’t delete some old documents at the same time.

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Let’s say you’re in a team meeting and the discussion doesn’t pertain to you at all. You’re still expected to be in attendance, but you can accomplish some other tasks while listening to the meeting. Responding to routine emails or straightening some files will make good use of your time during this period.

Even when it’s difficult to focus, be sure that some of your attention is still placed toward the meeting. You are an integral part of the team, and you want to be able to contribute if called upon.

Make Contributions

If all you do during a meeting is sit on your hands, you’ll get bored quickly. Making contributions to the meeting will make it a more engaging experience. Even just asking questions can help you remain focused.

When you see the chance to make a valuable comment, don’t be afraid to do so. Sharing your thoughts and concerns adds value to the meeting. By contributing, you’ll also become a more valuable member of your team. Your voice deserves to be heard, and meetings will be less boring for you if you add your input.

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Of course, there is such a thing as oversharing, and your comments need to be relevant and useful. Feel free to chime in from time to time, but don’t dominate the discussion or go off-topic. Too many comments or straying from the subject at hand might elongate an otherwise concise meeting or cause numerous interruptions.

Chew Gum

Believe it or not, chewing a piece of gum can actually help improve your focus and attention. A 2015 study consisting mostly of university students showed chewing gum could improve cognition and even mood throughout the day.

Although subtle, making this adjustment can be quite effective. During your next meeting, make sure you have some gum on hand. When the meeting has adjourned, take note of how you felt compared to past meetings. If gum did the trick, be sure to add it to your next grocery list.

Staying hydrated can also help you stay focused. Proper hydration will ensure your energy levels remain high and your body can focus for your Zoom call. Drinking water also doesn’t distract from a meeting like eating often does.

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If you have a videoconference meeting coming up, prepare for it by putting these suggestions to use. Pay attention to how you feel during the Zoom call. You may need to employ a few of the strategies to find what works best. When you find the right tactics for you, you’ll be able to get through your meeting without getting bored.

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AI Can Make Virtual Meetings Boring – So Prepare Accordingly

Not all changes brought on by AI are positive. One downside is that it has led to more boring virtual meetings. You need to know how to prepare to minimize it.

Sean Mallon
Sean is a freelance writer and big data expert. He loves to write on big data, analytics and predictive analytics.