Videoconferencing soared during the pandemic when people had to social distance. While many companies are returning to the office, Zoom meetings are still highly popular amidst a remote workforce. Although Zoom meetings have many benefits, one of the disadvantages of them is a feeling of tiredness or fatigue, almost burnout after a day of back-to-back video conference calls. What is Zoom fatigue, and how do you deal with it?
1. Stop Looking at Yourself
Imagine if you were in a meeting with a co-worker who held up a mirror so that you could see every one of your movements while you were talking or sitting there. That’s precisely what Zoom meetings do when you have to see yourself on your screen. It’s stressful. In an in-person meeting, you may focus on the speaker for a minute, take notes, and look at other colleagues or those in the room. A Zoom meeting is much different because you can be looking at everyone, including yourself, which is a highly intensive feeling. Use the options to reduce your face and that of others while in a Zoom meeting.
2. Schedule Zoom Calls Earlier
Zoom fatigue symptoms include the feeling of fatigue after a meeting. Holding a Zoom meeting at the end of the day when you’re already tired from work makes that feeling even more intense. Schedule your video conference calls in the morning when you’re more alert and have more mental stamina. When you have a late Zoom call, set boundaries about time and topic to avoid staying over or droning.
3. Take Advantage of the Mute Button
Zoom meetings are much different than in-person meetings. A Zoom meeting takes more cognitive skills. When you meet with someone in person, you must think about every aspect of communication, from verbal to non-verbal cues. The mute button is your friend because you can avoid adding extra pressure to the meeting by quieting your surroundings.
4. Do Not Default to a Video Call
Every tool you use for work was new at one time. When voicemail entered the workforce, there was a lot of debate about how to record the right message for the person receiving the message and the one responding. Over time, people learned how to strike the correct response. Videoconferencing is new to us, so we must learn how to use Zoom to make it more impactful. Zoom fatigue is real. Scientists are already studying the impact of videoconferencing on the workforce. In the meantime, don’t feel like a Zoom meeting is the only option.
5. Zoom Call Free Days
If you are experiencing Zoom fatigue, fight it yourself by declaring Zoom-free days. If that’s not an option, create a Zoom meeting location different from your regular work setting. This keeps you from multi-tasking while in a Zoom meeting, increasing fatigue. Alternatively, condition your brain to converse with a particular item that helps you focus on the task. Pour your coffee in a favorite mug that you only use during Zoom meetings, or wear a hat or scarf that indicates you are in Zoom mode.
6. Agree on Basic Etiquette
Zoom meeting etiquette differs for different types of meetings, so set some ground rules before the meeting. Whether it’s the agenda, the time limit, or eating and drinking, get everyone on the same page before you ever meet. Before you open the Zoom meeting, think about how to be considerate of others. That might mean you go to the bathroom before you sit down. Maybe it’s tidying up your office space to be less of a distraction. Turn off other devices during the meeting.
7. Take Breaks & Move Your Body
Videoconferencing is much less mobile than in-person meetings. You can’t reposition yourself easily to stay within the camera’s frame. You have to stay in the same spot. This is tiring for your brain, especially when the field of intimacy is smaller. In a video chat, you feel much closer to the other person, which makes it feel more intimate. Even though you may be thousands of miles apart, it appears as if you’re closer. Take a break during a more extended meeting and move around.
8. Find a Way to Connect With Co-Workers
When you work in the office, you connect to others differently than in a Zoom meeting. Try making small talk before the meeting or doing team-building activities through video chat to get to know your co-workers differently. This can help you learn to read their non-verbal cues to reduce fatigue. Learn to look at the camera, not the screen, to connect with others instead of feeling like you’re looking at yourself. Create a custom background for virtual meetings at Custom Virtual Office to reduce distractions during Zoom meetings.