In the age of endless virtual meetings, the exhaustion we feel from using video conferencing platforms has become a real thing. But there are research-based techniques to deal with it.
Have you ever wondered why virtual meetings seem exhausting? To some extent, it’s because we feel compelled to be more eager in discussions, absorb more information, and look straight at the screen 100% of the time to express interest — there’s so much that we do in video calls that we don’t normally do in in-person meetings. With our weekly schedules now filled with virtual meetings, this can be mentally and physically tiring. But what you’re experiencing is not anything out of the ordinary. It’s called Zoom fatigue. If you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or a professional working remotely, you might be experiencing this new kind of virtual fatigue, and you’re not alone.
Since many businesses nowadays are on a remote work setup, video calls are here for the long run. This makes it incredibly important to build efficient techniques to beat Zoom fatigue from taking over your workday.
In this article, we will find out more about Zoom fatigue including the research-based signs and tips to overcome it.
What is Zoom Fatigue?
Also known as Zoom burnout, it is the exhaustion you feel after having one too many video calls or online conferences according to Healthline. It may not be a formal diagnosis, but Zoom fatigue is real. Experts say it’s because of the technology today that’s overtaxing our brain. Typically, people experiencing this feel anxious and stressed before or after a video call.
Here are a few tell-tale signs you might be experiencing Zoom fatigue:
- Leaving a call feeling more tired than usual.
- Mind wandering or daydreaming during meetings.
- Experiencing headaches or migraines.
- Having anxiety about virtual meetings.
- Eye strain or irritation that only occurred when you started to go virtual.
- You feel confused or awkward during your virtual meetings.
How to Effectively Beat Zoom Fatigue
To keep you going in the age of endless virtual meetings, here are effective techniques researched by various organizations including as Harvard Business School, Stanford University, and Forbes to overcome Zoom fatigue and be at your best:
1. Avoid Multitasking
Let’s be honest: Most of us are guilty of multitasking during video calls, especially nowadays that we have all the resources and opportunities to totally ignore the discussion and still look focused. You can message a friend, browse on social media, research, answer emails, and many more. Seems like a great time to do other activities, right? But it’s time you stop doing it and change your behavior.
According to Harvard Business Review, multitasking affects your productivity up to 40%. It divides your attention span between tasks that could tire you out and negatively affect your productivity.
So, the next time you join a video conference, do yourself a favor, focus and give your full attention. You have a better chance of being successful on a specific task when you give your 100%. Removing all the distractions during virtual meetings reduces Zoom fatigue, keeping you more productive and efficient.
2. Take Scheduled Breaks
Some meetings last more than an hour that may trigger Zoom fatigue even more. To avoid this, scheduling breaks during your video calls would be a great idea to keep everyone present and efficient.
Taking breaks doesn’t just eliminate Zoom fatigue, but also helps the participants relax, boost creativity, and recharge for better and smoother interaction.
But don’t spend your break time on your chair. Get up and move around. An effective break includes stretching your body for a better blood flow and resting your eyes through changing of scenery even for a few minutes.
And as much as possible, don’t do back-to-back online meetings. Take at least a few minutes to unwind and prepare yourself for the next session.
3. Use the 20-20-20 Rule for Your Eyes
The use of computers and gadgets for a long period could lead to increased eye strain, adding up to Zoom fatigue. This is why controlling your screen time is important to give your eyes some rest. However, it may be quite difficult to stay away from the screen if you’re in a virtual meeting.
The 20-20-20 rule may give your eyes the rest they need without affecting your productivity in the meeting room. It says that for every 20 minutes looking at the screen, take 20 seconds to look at anything 20 feet away. This practice could help your eye muscles relax.
4. Keep Meetings Short and Limit Your Calls
At least for once, you might have heard the joke, “This meeting could have been an email.” It’s funny yet on point. The next time you plan to schedule a meeting, assess the topic first if it can be discussed through email to save time and lessen the possibility of getting Zoom fatigue or burnout.
If it needs to be discussed through a virtual meeting, keep it short and straight to the point as much as possible. Here are a few tips on how to cut down your video calls:
a. Combine some meetings if possible. For instance, if you have 2 meetings concerning different topics but with the same participants, make it into one efficient meeting, discussing topics back-to-back.
b. Outline the things to discuss before jumping on the meeting for an easier and smoother flow.
c. Share with the participants the goal of the meeting to encourage everyone to prepare. So when the discussion starts, you can get straight to the point with many ideas ready. This will result in an effective brainstorming session.
5. Focus on the Positive
Starting a meeting full of positivity creates a different vibe throughout the session. By simply greeting each other a good day and emphasizing the great news, you can make the video conference a whole lot different.
It’s natural for bad news to be unavoidable at times, it would be a better idea to leave it for later instead of starting the video call with a negative spirit.
6. Do Fun Icebreakers
Pump up the energy of all the meeting participants through a fun icebreaker! Before joining the room, take a few minutes searching for simple but awesome virtual team activities you could do. Here are some suggestions:
a. Virtual board games
b. Company trivia
c. Personal facts guessing game
d. Show and tell
e. Never have I ever
Even a fun small talk about the team’s day will do. What’s important is to break the ice and get everyone involved in the discussion. This helps eliminate Zoom fatigue as it creates a good vibe in the room and makes the meeting something to look forward to.
7. Switch Environment Every Meeting
Most of us probably do our Zoom meetings in our room, sitting in front of the desk, seeing the same things around over and over again. But have you ever thought about changing your work environment?
Being in the same place always can sometimes be both exhausting and boring. So why not try to move around your home? For instance, spend a week in your room then move to the living room the next week, and so on. Just a tip, an area with natural light is a great place to work. It helps keep you focused and refreshed.
8. Make Meetings with Video Optional When Possible
It’s not always necessary to keep meeting participants’ videos on the whole time. It depends on the type of meeting. If it requires a lot of participation and actions, keep it on. For sessions that don’t need active participation like a seminar, you can turn the camera off and join with audio-only.
Think about it. When someone is presenting through Zoom, does anyone need to see your face? Not necessarily, right? You might argue that having the video on helps ensure everyone is paying attention. But, the truth is, people will always find their ways to multitask during the video call if they want to.
Turning off the camera during a virtual meeting is one of the easiest ways to alleviate Zoom fatigue. But for conferences requiring a video, it would be better to hide the self-view which you can see on the software’s settings. Not seeing your face on the screen could help reduce anxiety as you won’t always worry about your looks.
9. Rent a Meeting Room
Admit it or not, there are topics and concerns better discussed in person. Plus, this type of meeting is sometimes more productive and efficient than the virtual session. This is why it’s better to schedule in-person meetings now and then. Discuss it with your team and maybe doing it once a month would be a great idea. There are a lot of companies offering Meeting Rooms for rent. You can search online for nearby spaces.
Furthermore, meeting in person helps reduce Zoom fatigue for having a little time off your screen, seeing familiar faces, and getting a different environment.
Related Article: How to Have a Safe In-person Meeting During the Pandemic
Remote work is here to stay and so does Zoom fatigue. Addressing this challenge with the techniques discussed above will keep you working productively. Also, it will bring a variation to your day, making you feel refreshed and ready for a full swing team meeting, away from burnout.
Take a Break from Zoom
If you’re planning on renting a meeting room for a day or hosting your quarterly meeting, take a break from Zoom with ARCH Offices! Our dynamic and well-designed Meeting Rooms help bolster the team’s creativity and collaboration to make the most out of your time. Plus, we have a convenient booking system that allows our Concierge Team to instantly get a quote and book for you. All you need to do is simply get in touch with us and our team will be more than happy to assist you!
Leslie is a passionate writer who creates highly engaging content to help promote businesses. When she isn’t working, you will find her playing the guitar or watching great films with her family.