5 Ways to Fight Zoom Fatigue

The switch to online meetings and virtual socialization that started as a necessary response to the COVID-19 crisis may not have seemed bad at first — after all, you could attend meetings without putting on shoes or dealing with a lengthy commute — but after awhile, it can take a toll. This can result in what is known as “Zoom fatigue”, though it’s true of any video conference platform you use.

According to a report from Harvard Business Review, watching a video for long periods during work meetings can make us uncomfortable and tired. This is because when we meet in person, we may look around the room, or not be looking at a computer screen at all, whereas online meetings require us to stare intently at the speaker in order to show we are paying attention. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make your virtual meetings less tiring.

Here are 5 ways to fight Zoom fatigue:

Turn off Video and Go All-Audio

Unless someone is screen-sharing spreadsheets or documents for everyone to review, arrange to have some of your meetings be audio-only to give everyone a break from video. It can be exhausting to constantly stare at a screen without breaks, and paying intent focus over video can be draining. If you tend to get distracted by how you look or act on-camera, turning off your own camera can help, but most likely your colleagues will also appreciate a break from video when possible.

Reduce Distractions

Most people tend to overestimate our skills when it comes to multitasking, and will spend video calls trying to maximize our time by responding to emails, shopping online, or checking social media. However, all this does is reduce your inability to remember what happens in the meeting! You also may tire quicker when attempting to do many things at once. Avoid temptation by closing tabs and minimize browsers and programs. 

Walk and Talk

If you are able to make your meeting audio-based, get outside and go for a walk while you meet. The fresh air and sun will be invigorating, plus it’s a great way to sneak in some steps. Even though there will be external stimuli, you may find you focus better on your colleague’s words when you mix up your environment a bit. 

Make Video Conferencing Fun Again

While the novelty of seeing your colleagues virtually may have worn off by now, remember how it felt a little exciting to do everything remotely when you first started working from home? Inject life back into meeting online by scheduling fun team building events. Arrange for your colleagues to take a cooking class together (Airbnb Experience has a wide variety of options), or attend an online comedy show. Platforms like GameApart make it easy to play board and card games over video conferencing, so you can bond with your team with a little good-natured competition. Whatever you choose for online team building, make it an optional event — it’s only fun if people actually want to be there, after all!

Schedule Video Meetings Thoughtfully

If you have any say about when your meetings occur, think about when you are best able to focus in video meetings and try to plan accordingly. Perhaps you can concentrate in meetings better in the afternoon, or would prefer to have as many as possible in the same day, giving you some days with none at all! Be sure to schedule 5-10 minutes between meetings so you can get up and stretch, refill your water and grab a healthy snack, and to give yourself a minute to decompress. This will help fight Zoom fatigue!

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