Creating Flow. Exploring lockdown audio lag and my exhaustion

So the technical term for that delay or lag from then you finish speaking to you hearing when the next person speaks is wrapped up in an idea of “Latency”.   Latency is measured in milliseconds (ms), which is thousandths of seconds. Latency for a face to face conversation is like zero. For say a landline call, it is defined by an ITU standard and is judged by the ability to offer a quality of service.  Ideally, about 10ms will achieve the highest level of quality and feels familiar.  A latency of 20 ms is tremendous and is typical for a VoIP call as it is perfectly acceptable.  A latency of even 150 ms is, whilst noticeable, permitted, however, any higher delay or lag times and the quality diminishes very fast. At 300 ms or higher, latency becomes utterly unacceptable as a conversation becomes laboured, driven by interruptions and lack flow. 

We all know the phrases of “no-one left behind” or “you are only as strong as your weakest team member.” Well, the same applies for latency, one person in a remote place, low broadband speed, on a (shared) WIFI extension, with poor buffering on a cheap router;  we are now all down to the slowest person in the team. 

Analogy to get to the conclusion. 

“Jet lag”, also called “jet lag disorder,” is a temporary sleep problem that can affect anyone who quickly travels across multiple time zones. Your body has its own internal clock (circadian rhythms) that signals your body when to stay awake and when to sleep. Jet lag occurs because your body's clock is still synced to your original time zone, instead of to the time zone where you've travelled. The more time zones crossed, the more likely you are to experience jet lag. Jet lag can cause fatigue, an unwell feeling, difficulty staying alert and gastrointestinal problems. Jet lag is temporary, but it can significantly reduce your vacation or business travel comfort. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent or minimise jet lag.

Stay with me. We are bringing JetLag and voice/ video lag (Latency) together.  We know the effects of JetLag - fatigue, unwell feeling, loss of alertness, gastrointestinal problems and is temporary.  

The question is, can VoiceLag create the same. Anecdotally I believe Yes based on 8 months of video calls.  At the end of a day of video, Teams, Hangout or Zoom calls, we know we have fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of alertness, gastrointestinal problems and it is temporary. A good night of sleep, we can do it all again.   I know that now making a day of mobile or landline calls I don’t suffer the same.  

However, is this voice lag or voice latency or video time or a little part of each? We definitely know that video calls are exhausting, but the assumption for this feeling was the new structure, a new approach, differences and styles, watch yourself continually, only seeing one person, having to be present 100% of the time.  This is all true, but we also lack flow on video call due the latency and lag.  Lacking flow means conversation is paused, interrupted and slow. This delay takes a lot of energy.  We cannot get into flow to sharing our creative thinking, we have to hold ideas and opinions back, we have to wait for signals to speak - it is all exhausting.    

We need to focus on the remove of lag to create flow. We need to stop moving at the rate of the slowest person, let’s get everyone up to flow speed.