With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people who work in offices are now working from home, communication between coworkers is now online instead of face to face meetings. There's a huge increase in video calls for your job, the company who benefited the most was Zoom.
Zoom meetings or video conferencing have become the norm and it can tire anyone out.
What is Zoom Fatigue?
It's the exhaustion feeling from endless meetings using Videoconferencing technology like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.
It's similar to traditional burnout, but it's your body's response to the increased need for videoconferencing throughout the day.
Why are online meetings more tiring than face-to-face ones?
Being Stuck in One Place
Video calls require you to remain in one spot for the duration of the meeting. With meeting people multiple times a day, you are forced to be stuck on your seat with less freedom of movement.
In normal situations, you are allowed to pace, walk around, go to the bathroom without excusing yourself and even spin around in your chair. Things we usually take for granted.
Our Brains Have to Work Harder
We work harder to process many nonverbal cues (tone and body language), but also figure out which cues to respond to.
Think about how you act in a video call. Do you nod your head in an obvious way? Do you raise your hand and wave to get attention? How do you get attention and get your point across?
It's the same as the receiver, can you make a judgement on what the person meant by something they said?
Everyone takes up a small part of the screen making it even harder to find out what people meant. Verbal cues don't convey everything, we need nonverbal cues to make decisions too.
You Get Easily Distracted
There's a temptation to multitask. Whether it's to check your email or keep working on something else during a meeting.
Why? Because most virtual meetings end in you not being involved but still need to be present. You'll feel the itch to do something else, but at the same time trying to pay attention to the meeting.
How Can We Combat Fatigue?
Consider, Does the Meeting Need to Happen?
Do you really need to meet? Can a detailed comment or text fix things? I'm sure you have unnecessary meetings that you can do without.
Establish ‘No Meeting’ Time Periods
Use your team calendar to set up when you are busy or free. Block up a time to focus only on working or breaks.
Another method is to set aside half your day for meetings and the other half for deep work. This way you can stay connected to your team and get work done.
Always Have an Agenda
Nothing makes a video call drag when no one has an idea of what they want to accomplish. Insist a clear purpose and provide a list of what it will cover in the video meeting.
This will make the meeting efficient and more productive.
Schedule Breaks Between Meet
Some days, you'll have back-to-back video chats, it doesn't give you much of a break.
In-person meetings, you usually get up to grab a coffee, stretch or go to the washroom. Do the same for your video meetings.
Part of the trouble with back-to-back Zoom calls is that it doesn’t give you a mental, visual, or physical break.
Think about in-person meetings. Even when they’re back-to-back, you usually have to get up to switch meeting rooms or grab a coffee. Give yourself time to reset.