The pandemic forced knowledge workers around the world to work from home, leading to an abundance of Zoom meetings. We scheduled video calls for every interaction that would have been a face-to-face encounter—from work meetings to family gatherings.
While Zoom, and other video platforms like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, offered a solution for business continuity, it also exhausted us. Here’s why:
Video calls require more focus (brainpower) than face-to-face gatherings. You’re staring at a Brady Bunch grid of faces, trying to figure out who is speaking while picking up nonverbal cues, the video sometimes lags, you’re distracted by a colleague’s toddler in the background—AND you’re hyperaware of how you look and how often you talk with your hands. (Okay, maybe that last part is just me.😀) You end that call to hop on another and the cycle continues. This is known as Zoom fatigue.
So how do we help employees overcome this exhaustion? Here are four tips you can share with your remote workforce:
Vary the length
Not every Zoom meeting has to be an hour long. Before you schedule a meeting, think about your objective and how much time is really needed. Perhaps all you need is 10 or 20 minutes. Break up a meeting by providing a screen recording of your presentation or a short video or audio message ahead of time and use the meeting to answer questions.
Mix it up
Don’t abandon other forms of communication like email, instant message and phone calls. Consider scheduling phone calls instead of video calls or make video cameras optional. Most video meeting platforms offer the option to hide “self-view” so your colleagues will see you, but you won’t be distracted by yourself. And be sure to utilize Zoom tools that focus on interactivity like whiteboard, polling and chat.
Give your eyes a break
We’re getting more screen time than ever, causing eye strain. Schedule breaks throughout the day to step away from the computer. Those extra few minutes will give you a chance to stretch, grab a coffee, eat a quick snack or step outside for some fresh air. Plus, you get to recharge by looking at something other than your computer or webcam.
Establish a video-free day
Reduce the time spent in Zoom meetings by designating an entire day or portions of a day to no video calls. This works best when you’re not the only one with Zoom fatigue and you can get your entire team on board. Bonus: You don’t have to wash your hair on this day.
Since remote work is here to stay, it’s time to overcome Zoom fatigue. Follow these steps and you won’t feel so exhausted at the thought of another video call.