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Charter on the prevention of videoconferencing

Waarp relies on different approaches on a daily basis to prevent recurring videoconferences within its organization. Find in this document all the measures put in place with our employees, within our company which operates 100% teleworking. Together, let's preserve the health of our employees... Meetings, debriefings, virtual coffee, conference calls... At work, video conferences are part of everyday life. Of indisputable usefulness, they are nevertheless not without risk for the health of employees:
• fatigue, feeling of overload, headaches, visual or hearing problems, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), isolation, etc.
This document highlights various benchmarks to prevent risks linked to teleworking.

The right meeting format

Meeting organizers must ask themselves the question of the form to give to all these collective moments. Some meetings can be held face to face, others by videoconference, still others by telephone. Choosing the appropriate exchange format provides meaning and limits the workload. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the “videoconference meeting” format compared to other methods of meeting or communication (face-to-face meeting, email, telephone, etc.):
• How many participants in the meeting?
• Is videoconferencing adapted to the context?
• Would a face-to-face meeting, phone call, or similar be more appropriate for the content or purpose of the meeting?

Organize video conferences

As with any meeting, a videoconference must be prepared (agenda, objectives, duration, etc.) to ensure its smooth running. It must have a motive and be animated. Excessive or long e-meetings end up creating fatigue
mental generated by the accumulation of time spent on the same task.

During videoconferencing, it is also necessary to ensure distribution of speaking time to avoid the isolation of certain employees:
• Promote short and concise meetings while respecting usual working hours,
• Invite only the people really concerned by the meeting,
• Establish an agenda and stick to it,
• Encourage participants to speak,
• Respect the duration of the meeting.

Limit the number of video conferences per day

With videoconferencing, it is no longer necessary to travel from one meeting to another. The temptation is great to schedule a succession of meetings while forgetting informal times for exchanges or recovery or even
movements (getting up, hydrating, etc.). Even if each meeting has a reasonable duration, an accumulation of meetings can represent a risk for the health of employees (fatigue, stress, high workload, risks linked to posture
• Recommend a limited number of hours of videoconferencing per day: it is estimated for work on screen that 4 consecutive hours constitute a maximum that should not be exceeded,
• Encourage users of this device to reserve time in their diary of at least 15 minutes between two meetings to recharge their batteries, walk a little and prepare for the next videoconference.

Train employees in videoconferencing

As with all other technology-enabled working methods, it is important to test the many tools that exist and choose the one that best suits your business. Beyond the equipment, it is necessary to ensure that the
participants master the videoconferencing tool made available to them as well as its successive developments. The absence of training in this tool, often deemed intuitive, can limit its mastery, increase the workload of users and result in
• Ensure that employees master this tool,
• Set up online training or tutorial (video or illustrated instructions),
• Provide employees with assistance to react to the main incidents and situations that may arise (poor coverage, low internet speed, difficulty connecting, etc.).

Set up IT support

Even with a simple, robust and suitable videoconferencing tool, an incident is possible: computer crashes, connection to the videoconference does not work when an important meeting takes place in 5 minutes... These malfunctions reinforce isolation and employee stress. In these situations, the IT support service is often the only recourse:
• Be able to advise in the event of a problem: set up a hotline, remote intervention means,
• Strengthen the IT support service, if necessary, to enable employee assistance,
• Organize and train the IT support service in videoconferencing so that it can respond to the specific needs of employees, including when using videoconferencing tools imposed by customers,
• Provide alternatives in the event of malfunctions of the videoconferencing tool,
• Inform employees of the existence and contact details of this assistance.

Raise employee awareness and reduce risks

Reduce hearing risks

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 1, in 2050, one in four people will suffer from hearing problems linked to too frequent use, too high volume in headphones and earphones. Employees regularly using the
videoconferencing using headsets and audio headphones could be affected by these hearing problems:
• Raise employee awareness of hearing risk,
• Make high-performance headsets or earphones available and train employees in their use.

Visual fatigue

Staying behind your screen for several hours, especially when it is not suitable (smartphone for example), can lead to visual fatigue (heaviness of the eyeballs, redness, headaches, etc.):
• Provide employees with suitable screens,
• Recommend not following a videoconference on a smartphone.

The risks associated with sedentary postures

When employees have more videoconferences or when they are very long, participants are forced to remain seated. Changing positions and taking breaks are less spontaneous than in face-to-face meetings.
face to face or when we are between two meetings. Current work on the risks associated with sedentary postures recommends breaking the seated posture every 30 minutes:
• Encourage employees to move to allow them to change position and therefore avoid the occurrence of pathologies associated with sedentary postures,
• Temporarily continue the meeting standing, etc.

Psychosocial risks

Multiple videoconferences encourage employees to remain “calm” in their office or at home in front of their screen: closed door, “do not disturb” sign, etc. It can then be more difficult to regulate the activity and identify in the relational
warning signs of psychosocial risks: isolation, reduction of exchanges with colleagues, weakening of collectives and the feeling of belonging to the team:
• Train supervisors in the warning signs of isolation, loss of community, fatigue,
• Help employees identify and report possible symptoms (fatigue, irritability, anxiety, feeling of isolation, etc.),
• If necessary, reintroduce face-to-face meetings or imagine other methods of collective face-to-face exchanges.

Attentional overload

During videoconference meetings, some employees do not hesitate to check their emails or send SMS, or even answer the phone, which would not or rarely happen during physical meetings. This overload caused by
using several communication media at the same time is a source of fatigue, even exhaustion for the employee. Meetings also lose their effectiveness, their meaning and last longer:
• Organize useful and rhythmic meetings where everyone feels involved,
• Raise awareness among employees not to do other things at the same time as videoconferencing (reading emails, looking at their phone, surfing the internet, etc.).

Organize feedback

Having videoconference meetings at work is not new but, since the health crisis, the number of these videoconferences has increased, including outside the confinement phase. In addition, not all organizations and companies have chosen the same videoconferencing device, which requires adaptations (How do I share a document with this tool? How do I change the sound? Can I record the meeting? Where is the cat? How is the turn to speak organized?...). It is therefore necessary to take a step back from this constantly evolving method of meeting:
• Systematically organize feedback or change on good user practices, management of problematic situations , relays and assistance, etc.

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