Have you ever clicked out of a virtual meeting with a few coworkers and felt like you needed to drink a gallon of Red Bull to get through the rest of your day? Then you’ve probably experienced Zoom fatigue in some shape or form during the remote work shift.
The Best Ways to Help with Zoom Fatigue
Symptoms of Zoom fatigue include:
- A general feeling of exhaustion
- Letting your mind wander during meetings
- Overheating while on a video conference
- Experiencing headaches or migraines
- Feeling anxiety about virtual meetings
While the term references Zoom, the most popular video conferencing tool on the planet, it’s important to note that Zoom fatigue can stem from any form of live video communication.
What Causes Zoom Fatigue?
So why is Zoom fatigue a thing? Jeremy Bailenson, a Stanford researcher and one of the leading authorities on Zoom fatigue, gives us three reasons:
- Performance Anxiety: When you join a video call, you can see other attendees in small boxes on your screen. You can also see yourself. This leads many people to worry about their appearance, which gives them performance anxiety.
- Sedentary Days: You don’t have to walk to a conference room to participate in a virtual meeting. You simply pull up a new screen on your computer. This causes professionals to become more sedentary, which can harm their mental states.
- Impersonal Communication: Much of human communication is non-verbal. Video conferencing makes it harder for us to decipher visual cues and truly understand what we’re being told. This can result in cognitive overload and extra stress.
Add these things together: constant performance anxiety, sedentary days, and the less personal nature of Zoom meetings and it’s not hard to see why many of us are more tired.
How Do You Beat Zoom Fatigue?
Zoom fatigue is real and causes feelings of exhaustion, headaches, and other unsavory symptoms. So it definitely makes sense to ask, “how do you beat Zoom fatigue?”
Here are four tips to keep you keep going in the age of (seemingly) endless video conferences.
1. Turn Off Your Camera
One of the easiest ways to alleviate Zoom fatigue is to simply turn your camera off. I have a little slide cover. When I’m good, I slide on — when not — I slide it off.
Controlling your camera will help reduce performance anxiety during virtual meetings. It will also give you more mobility, allowing you to pace around your office or even go for a walk outside (assuming you have wireless headphones and can access the meeting via your phone.)
In most cases, you don’t need to have your camera on anyway. If you’re watching a presentation, the presenter doesn’t need to see you. When you’re joining a large group, most other attendees won’t care if they see you, especially if you’re not talking.
If, for whatever reason, you have to have your camera on, hide the self-view in your video conference software’s settings. Fixing your settings will, at the very least, reduce your levels of performance anxiety because you won’t be able to see yourself and worry if you look okay or not.
If you will add in a great photo of yourself –smiling — it is even better.
2. Adjust Your Schedule
Next up, adjust your schedule. If every day is full of back-to-back virtual meetings, you’re going to get burned out—especially if said meetings run late, which often happens. Instead, keep these three tips in mind when scheduling your video conferences:
- Don’t Schedule Back-to-Back Meetings: If at all possible, avoid back-to-backers. Breaks between meetings will give your mind and eyes a rest, allow you to get out of your chair and stretch your legs, and use the bathroom.
- Schedule All Meetings on the Same Day: While we can’t recommend back-to-back meetings, you may want to try scheduling all of your weekly meetings on the same day. That way you can experience freedom the rest of the week.
- Don’t Overextend Your Virtual Conferences: Lastly, if you’ve scheduled a 30-minute virtual meeting, don’t push it to 45-minutes unless you absolutely have to. Run through your agenda, then bid adieu to attendees and let them get on with their lives.
Virtual meetings are almost inevitable in the modern world. But by paying attention to your schedule, you can help avoid Zoom fatigue.
3. Use Other Communication Tools
Zoom is a great tool. So is Google Hangouts, Highfive, and many other video conferencing software. But they aren’t the only ways to communicate with employees, colleagues, and prospects. Give yourself a break and use something a different solution like:
- The Phone: Of course, you can always just pick up the phone and call your colleagues, employees, prospects, etc. to cut back on virtual meetings.
- Email: Short on time and need to convey a simple message? Shoot your recipient a short email rather than schedule another Zoom call.
- Slack: Messaging apps like Slack are great for staying in touch with colleagues, sharing information, and more. They also won’t burn you out like video meetings.
- CloudApp: Want the convenience of asynchronous communication and the clarity that video calls provide? Use CloudApp to create and send video messages, screen recordings, GIFs, and annotated screenshots with just a few clicks.
By finding the right balance between video calls, written communication, and asynchronous video messages, you’ll be able to overcome Zoom fatigue.
4. Eliminate Multitasking
Let’s be honest: multitasking is bad news. Science has proven that the human brain can’t focus 100% on more than one thing at a time—no matter how hard we try. Attempting to multitask just leads to lower productivity and brain health.
Multitasking is extra problematic when paired with video conferencing because effective virtual meetings require more brainpower than other tasks.
When you join a video conference, close out the other tabs on your screen, put your phone away, and log out of your email. Do whatever you can to eliminate distractions so that you can give the meeting your full attention.
Create a Better Work Environment
Here’s the deal: Zoom fatigue is real and it’s lowering your quality of life.
It’s not Zoom’s or any other video conferencing software’s fault. These companies have built amazing tools that allow us to connect with people face-to-face—even if we’re thousands of miles apart. The problem is we’ve become so reliant on them, they’ve started to burn us out.
Fortunately, now that you know what Zoom fatigue is and what causes it, you can implement the tips listed above to overcome it and create a better work environment for yourself
Top Image Credit: liza summer; pexel; thank you!