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How to Combat Zoom Fatigue

26 May 2021 by Sarah Connell
How to Combat Zoom Fatigue

​Tips to Fight Zoom Fatigue

Is anyone else exhausted from so many video meetings? If you have been working remotely, which the majority of people have over the last year, the chances are you have experienced some sort of “Zoom fatigue” by now. While we’re all more or less used to video calls and meetings being the new normal now, the newly coined effect of Zoom fatigue hasn’t gone away.

The phrase Zoom fatigue refers to a sense of feeling drained after a long day of video meetings. This isn’t specific to Zoom, it refers to any kind of video meeting – whether that be Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. 

Since remote and hybrid work setups are here to stay, video calls are here for the long run too. This makes it incredibly important to find a way to prevent Zoom fatigue from taking over your workday. Here are a few ways you can ease the effects of Zoom gloom.

1. Try Get Your Zooms in Early

A study done at Old Dominion University found that people who had video meetings scheduled later in the day felt more fatigued. So it could certainly be more beneficial to hold video meetings earlier in the day if possible. Of course, with varying time zones, an early morning Zoom may not always be possible. But focus on doing it when you can.

2. Use the Mute Button

“You’re on mute!” must be the most common phrase over the last year! However, when you’re not talking or presenting, it’s a good idea to put yourself on mute, for several reasons.

The majority of our remote work is happening in our homes. When your microphone is off, then you don't need to worry about your colleagues or clients hearing your kids playing in the next room, your dog barking, or any other background noise that would disrupt someone else when they are talking. Putting yourself on mute will help you control some of that background chaos, therefore lessening those feelings of fatigue after a video meeting.

3. Stop Looking at Yourself 

Regular video meetings have created interesting habits for everyone, with one being constantly staring at yourself on screen. We’re not used to this and this new normal has made individuals more self-conscious. Knowing that your video is on show to others can heighten your awareness of being seen, and that awareness can generate anxiety and also make it difficult to focus. This can lead to feeling exhausted.

The solution for this is pretty simple: You can change the settings of your video platform to make sure you’re not visible to yourself (on Zoom, for example, you’d click “Hide Self View”).

4. Suggest Zoom-Free Days

If you and your colleagues are on the same page with Zoom fatigue, you can always suggest some Zoom-free days. A lot of companies have started to introduce these Zoom-free days to help their employees recover from video fatigue. Easing up on the video calls could benefit your whole office.

5. Take a Break—and Move Around

Taking breaks at work has always been important—for both your health and also your productivity. Making sure you take some time away from the computer during the day is vital since you don’t have built-in breaks while remote working.

Video meetings tend to constrain your mobility, since staying in the video frame means remaining in place. One way to combat this – turn off your camera so you can stand up, stretch, etc for a minute or two. Squeezing in short bursts of movement throughout your day will help you feel more energised, while also giving your body, eyes, and brain a much-needed break.

Another option, during longer calls, is to take mini breaks by minimising the window, moving it to behind your open applications, or just looking away from your computer completely for a few seconds now and then.

Another suggestion for days when you can’t avoid back-to-back calls, consider making meetings 25 or 50 minutes, instead of the standard half-hour and hour. This will give you enough time in between video meetings to get up and move around for a bit which should give you an energy boost.

6. Send an Agenda if you’re the meeting host

We all know that Zoom meetings can drag on much longer than they need to at times, and this can bring on those feelings of Zoom fatigue. To avoid this, and keep meetings on track and on time, set and share an agenda with everyone on the call. This can help the session flow efficiently and save a lot of time in the long run. Everyone will know exactly what is expected of them, what the meeting will cover and how long it will be. Try to follow this agenda as much as possible and stick to the timelines. Having clear expectations with specific points and time limits should prevent your meeting from going overtime.

7. Avoid Multitasking

It might be tempting to do several things at once during Zoom meetings, but you should try to avoid this. Research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science shows that trying to do multiple things at once cuts into performance. Their results showed that in most cases, multitasking actually reduces performance by a massive 40%!

So the next time you’re on a video meeting, close any tabs or programs that might distract you, put your phone away (or on airplane mode), and stay present.

We know multitasking can be hard to resist, especially during busy days, but focusing on the task at hand and removing distractions will have you more present, productive, and less fatigued.

Conclusion

Work-related burnout is a common issue, and an ongoing global health crisis certainly doesn’t help things. But Zoom meetings and remote working are likely here to stay, so considering ways that can help you be productive while also looking after your mental health and well-being is vital.

Some of these tips might be hard to follow at first (such as resisting the urge to multitask during your next Zoom call) but taking these steps can help you prevent feeling so exhausted at the thought of another video meeting. It’s tiring enough trying to adjust to this new normal. So make video calls a little easier for yourself.

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