The Reality of Zoom Fatigue, and How You Can Minimize it in Your Day to Day Life
If you are getting to the end of your work day more exhausted than ever before, and wondering why because all you did was sit and snack and attend virtual meetings in your sweat pants, you’re not alone. Throughout the past few months the topic of Zoom fatigue has been flooding the workplace. Experts have been studying why talking to someone over a screen actually takes much more energy than driving to the office and sitting in that cold conference room next to your coworker Pam. So what’s the problem with it?
There are a lot of factors.
The mere fact that we are in Quarantine and most of us have new work settings that aren’t exactly ideal doesn’t help. Even if you enjoy the non-office work setting, there is an underlying stress added to every meeting simply due to the fact that your team isn’t used to the new dynamic that the virtual aspect brings. We’ve been in quarantine for awhile, but some studies show that it takes an average person 12-18 months to adjust to a new normal.
On top of that, it takes far more effort to absorb information virtually. No quick commentary from people like there would be in a conference room because everyone stays on mute. No side conversations, or quick questions. Plus, non-verbal cues don’t translate as well, so your mind works much harder to try and understand what people mean when they speak. Pair this with the fact that being virtual makes it 10 times easier to get distracted, and your mind is constantly bouncing between the need to hyper focus to understand, and the ability to wander.
It can be extremely exhausting, especially if you are the type of person who's in back to back meetings, but we’ve pulled together a list of tips that can help you feel better at the end of each day! Some you can do on your own, others you will have to consult with your boss to see what they think, but it’s worth the conversation, trust us!
1) Take all meetings and cut them by 15 minutes, because chances are you waste time in your meetings. If that works and you still cover everything, do it again! Also try making weekly meetings, bi-weekly, or bi-weekly meetings, monthly
2) Appoint 1 team member to represent the team in a meeting and report back
3) Write emails or use instant messaging instead of meetings
4) Use spreadsheets to keep track of projects, instead of constantly jumping on video calls
4) Turn off self view- it causes more onscreen stimuli. This one is HUGE. Zoom makes people hyper aware of others staring at them, and feel like they’re constantly in the spotlight. Most people end up staring at themselves the entire time, which is both distracting and exhausting
5) Eliminate all other on screen distractions. Close other apps so you aren’t getting email notifications or anything else. Multitasking in zoom calls is a huge draining factor and will add to that end of day exhaustion
6) Make social virtual events optional
7) Do phone calls instead of video calls when possible, especially with people outside the company who you don’t know as well. It takes a lot more focus to talk to unfamiliar people over zoom because you are trying to understand their non-verbal cues even though you don't know them, so when you can eliminate those video chats, do it!
Above all else, rest when you can, and just take care of yourself overall! But definitely try out these tips if you are feeling zoom fatigue and report back on which one helped the most!
Sources: Harvard Business Review, BBC, Entrepreneur Next
October 1, 2020