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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Zoom call fatigue is real, as employees are feeling burnt out by constant videoconferencing, while others have experienced their communication effectiveness slipping away. I've heard from so many who tell me they can't get any real work done because they are always on calls, often finding themselves booked back-to-back with an online presence expected literally all hours of the day. 

Expectations are high when you are on calls - you need to look professional and serious while at the same time leaving a little wiggle room between the meetings for basic life necessities.

At the best of times, taking a break to recharge is critical, yet in this environment many are hesitant to do so. It is almost becoming a badge of honour to demonstrate you are working longer and harder than your colleagues even if it may mean you are less productive.

And that fatigue comes at a time when vacation time is accumulating, in part because there are literally few places to go and during the pandemic and it’s even more difficult to co-ordinate with a family's moving parts. Getting everyone on the same page can be a challenge. ​

Depending on your organization, there may be a “use it or lose it” approach to vacation allotment, while for other organizations it becomes a liability that still needs to be paid. 

Either way: vacation needs to happen before disability claims become a bigger issue.

Recently, RBC announced it would be offering all employees a extra paid vacation day so they could simply recharge in an effort to reduce burnout. TD quickly followed suit. The reality is people are tired and fatigue is cumulative.

In the U.S., PWC is offering employees an incentive of $250.00 for every 40 hours of vacation time used. This being done in an effort to ensure employees are taking the time they need. The amount is capped at $1,000. In their U.K. offices, employees can take off early on Fridays. 

Meanwhile, other companies like Airbnb have offered up to a $500 quarterly credit used for booking accommodations on its platform that serves as a dual purpose - time away and an opportunity to better understand their customer. 

The bottom line is: the war for talent is real and fierce while at the same time you can only push employees so hard. 

Employers who offer up flexibility, accommodation and reward will create a win-win environment at time when employees need it the most.​