Video Conferencing Might Be Stifling Creativity and Innovation

The shift to remote work might not last much longer, but it has mostly been seen as a positive development among workers because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up helping them attain a better balance between their work lives and home lives. However, there are a few downsides to remote work as well, with meetings conducted over video conference calls being one of the most widely cited disadvantages because of how much it can reduce productivity.

One aspect of productivity that virtual meetings might be harmful for is creativity and problem solving. Researchers hailing from the universities of Columbia and Stanford did some research wherein around three hundred people did meetings face to face and another three hundred did meetings over virtual platforms. They were tasked with coming up with as many ideas as possible, and with all of that having been said and now out of the way it is important to note that the people going for in person meetings came up with more ideas on average.

Participants who were meeting face to face came up with around 16.77 ideas on average, whereas those that were meeting virtually came up with only 14.74. What’s more is that the ideas that were thought of in virtual meetings weren’t as innovative as the ones that in person pairs were able to come up with. In spite of the fact that this is the case, virtual meetings might make people more likely to critically analyze their ideas which might have led to them recognizing the lower quality of their ideas.

Physical human interaction is a powerful force, and this research showed that it might help people be more creative with all things having been considered and taken into account. However, it is crucial to recognize that this is only one study conducted by two researchers, and more work will need to be done before anything conclusive can be proven. Virtual meetings are unlikely to subside as long as people continue to prefer working from home which they most definitely will in the short term.

Read next: You Are Not Alone; Video Meetings Are No Good!

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