Telecommuting tools like Slack and Zoom are essential for working from home, but there are those who do not know how to use them well, which destroys their productivity. Telecommuting tools like Slack and Zoom have become workers’ best friends … or worst enemies. While many depend on them for their jobs, for others they are killing productivity during the workday. This is stated by Edward Sullivan, CEO of Velocity Group, which provides executive training to founders of new companies, venture capitalists and senior executives of a multitude of firms. Velocity has worked with more than 2,000 CEOs of publicly traded companies, adding a combined market capitalization of more than $ 2 trillion, as well as start-ups. Big names like Google, Apple and Twitter, among others, are on its client list. If you are looking for a cheap laptop, this buying guide will help you make the right choice: we will tell you what you should take into account. In an interview with Business Insider, Sullivan indicates that productivity among his clients increased at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, however, overuse of telecommuting tools like Slack and Zoom is killing performance in the long run. Read more: Slack shares sink 20% after presenting results: the firm explains how the pandemic and its rivalry with Microsoft slow its growth Your comments are supported by a study by the consulting firm Eagle Hill. The research concludes that 45% of those surveyed were exhausted due to the lack of communication and support from their bosses, the increased workload and how difficult they have to balance their career and private life during the pandemic. In fact, video calls take much more effort than normal conversations, according to a study from the University of California Instead of concentrating on mastering digital tools, Sullivan says, leaders should do 4 things to maximize their performance and happiness. team: Set specific time slots to get away from Slack and Zoom It’s hard enough working at home without distractions: kids asking for anything, the postman knocking on the door, the phone buzzing or the laptop warning of new notifications. Those interruptions are already a part of our daily lives, but Sullivan suggests that leaders choose time slots when all members of their teams can “walk away,” turn off all communication tools, and fully focus on their work. In this way, the worker can enter a state of “deep flow”, the most productive state of mind. According to Sullivan, it is key that everyone in the company has the same “offline” hours. Otherwise, each employee will have to catch up with huge masses of pending messages at the time of entering work, which is counterproductive. For example, the clothing brand Bombas, one of Sullivan’s clients, has struggled to regain productivity and eliminate accumulated fatigue from its employees. Its CEO, David Heath, then introduced “library hours” a few days a week, that is, a time frame where no one can schedule meetings. Such a simple solution has succeeded in raising the morale of the company and improving its performance. Leaders should set an example for their teams (don’t send emails at midnight) Bosses often forget to take care of themselves, Sullivan notes, and unhealthy behaviors soon carry over to their teams. This includes not getting enough sleep, sitting in front of the computer all day, and not setting boundaries between work and personal hours. A CEO responding to an email at 11:30 PM is suggesting that everyone else should do the same. This can lead to burnout, low morale and high job turnover, which can become very costly, he said. Better “walking calls” than video calls If connecting with people is already difficult, imagine in video calls. Zoom and Slack can cause fatigue. Receiving information through any of them is not the same as sitting next to a colleague, Sullivan says. Instead of abusing these tools, he encourages his clients to have phone meetings and go for walks during those calls. Read more: “We knew we were doing something good for the world and we were almost penalized for it”: this is how Zoom’s toughest moments were in the middle of the pandemic, according to a Spanish company executive A study by the School of Administration of the Yale University found that people can be more emotionally connected when they listen carefully without seeing each other through a screen. Walking outside the home and listening carefully to someone’s voice can help. He, for example, uses this technique for his training sessions in companies. He puts on the headphones, tells his clients to do the same, and asks for a walk together during the call. Don’t always discuss work with employees Start a meeting by asking general questions about your employees’ lives (what they did on the weekend, for example), especially when it comes to small groups of 4-5 people, instead of larger groups, so that they feel in a more private environment. But there are other practical ways to know how people cope and feel on a daily basis, Sullivan says. For example, Justin McLeod, CEO of Hinge, asked his workers to change their Slack statuses from “home, away, busy, etc.” to “happy, stressed, lonely, sick, disconnected”, so that teams would know the mental state of their colleagues. This small change gave a more human element to these digital tools, says the expert. This article was published in Business Insider Spain by Luis Casal.