The Microsoft Study on Video Meeting Breaks

Imagine transforming your workday with just a simple tweak to your schedule. That's precisely what Microsoft's Human Factors Lab discovered in a 2021 study. They took 14 participants on a two-day virtual meeting marathon, with a twist.

Day 1 was a Marathon: Participants had four back-to-back video meetings. It was a true test of endurance.

Day 2 brought a Change: The same four meetings, but this time with breaks sprinkled in between.

The participants were decked out in EEG caps, which gave a window into their brain activity during these meetings.

The revelations were astounding!

First Discovery: The Stress of Non-Stop Meetings

Without breaks, each meeting piled more stress onto the participants. The constant jump from one meeting to another only added to the tension. It was like a snowball rolling downhill, growing bigger with each turn.

Second Discovery: Breaks are Brain Boosters

On the second day, when breaks were introduced, the participants' brains showed signs of relaxation and heightened engagement. It turns out, those little pauses were like hitting a reset button for the brain!

The Conclusion? Breaks Aren't Just Nice, They're Necessary

These breaks did wonders. They:

  • Dissolved the stress build-up.
  • Upped the game in terms of attention and engagement.
  • Made sure the previous meeting didn't leave a lingering shadow on the next.