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Avoid Zoom Fatigue: How to Stay Energized While Working From Home

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What Is Zoom Fatigue?

Zoom Fatigue refers to the physical and mental exhaustion that arises from constant video calls and conferencing. While the term is derived from the popular video conferencing platform Zoom, it can be applied to the negative effects of extended use of other similar software such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and more.

Causes of Zoom Fatigue

Zoom Fatigue is caused by several factors, most of which are related to the increased mental and visual processing required during video calls compared to in-person meetings.

Zoom Fatigue Cause: Lack of Non-Verbal Cues

In face-to-face interactions, non-verbal communication plays a significant role in our understanding of conversations. We interpret pauses, facial expressions, eye contact, and other cues effortlessly. However, in video calls, we need to put in extra effort to recognize and process these non-verbal cues, leading to mental and physical exhaustion.

The Feeling of Being on Stage

During video calls, seeing oneself on the screen alongside colleagues creates self-awareness and pressure to present oneself well. This heightened self-awareness adds to the strain and fatigue.

Zoom Fatigue Cause: Distraction and the Temptation to Multitask

When attending video conferences, we often have other tabs and activities open, leading to constant distractions. While we might believe that multitasking is feasible, research shows that switching between tasks can reduce productivity by up to 40%.

The Technology Can Hamper the Experience

Silences during video calls can create anxiety, leading to the perception of technical issues. Additionally, even short delays in responses can make participants seem less engaged or friendly.

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Zoom Fatigue Cause: We Miss the Water Cooler Experience

In physical settings, informal interactions like stopping by the water cooler or coffee machine before or after meetings offer mental breaks and opportunities for preparation or reflection. However, these relief moments are often absent in video conferences.

How Do I Stop Zoom Fatigue?

To alleviate Zoom Fatigue, there are several strategies you can implement, categorized into reducing the number of video calls and making the calls more tolerable.

Methods for reducing video calls include:

Schedule “No Meeting” Times

Designate specific blocks of time as “No Meetings” to create boundaries and reduce the frequency of video calls. You can also dedicate a specific day of the week for all meetings or establish a weekly Meeting-Free Day.

Have the Option to Say “No”

If a meeting doesn’t require your input, politely decline and suggest alternative ways of sharing information, such as sending documents or quick videos explaining the meeting’s purpose.

Use Text-Based Communications Instead of Live Video

Consider utilizing email or chat platforms for discussions that don’t necessarily require video conferencing. These platforms often provide search options, making it easier to refer back to previous conversations.

Use Video – But as a Narrative Resource

Recorded video messages or presentations can replace live meetings, ensuring that all relevant points are covered without the need for real-time interaction.

During unavoidable video calls, you can make the experience less exhausting by:

Set Up a Meeting Agenda

Clearly define the purpose of the meeting and provide an agenda to help participants determine its relevance.

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Avoid Multitasking

Eliminate distractions by closing unnecessary tabs or programs and keeping your phone out of reach. Give your full attention to the meeting at hand.

Hide the “Self-View” Panel

To reduce self-awareness and eliminate the stress of constantly seeing your own face, check your camera setup, and then hide the self-view. Remember that you can always choose to turn off your camera entirely if it helps you listen more effectively.

Have Scheduled Breaks

Intentionally schedule breaks between consecutive video calls to provide mental, physical, and visual rest. Taking regular breaks is crucial in combating Zoom Fatigue.

Reduce the Meeting Length

Organizations are increasingly moving away from long video conferences and transitioning to shorter meetings. Shorter meetings allow participants to take much-needed breaks and reset mentally.

By implementing these strategies, you can combat Zoom Fatigue and maintain productivity while working remotely.

Summary:

Zoom Fatigue, born out of the pandemic, refers to the physical and mental exhaustion caused by constant video calls. Lack of non-verbal cues, the feeling of being on stage, distraction, and the absence of informal interactions are some of its causes. To reduce Zoom Fatigue, schedule “No Meeting” times, say “no” when necessary, and consider text-based communications. During video calls, set up an agenda, avoid multitasking, and take breaks. By implementing these practices, you can alleviate Zoom Fatigue and maintain your well-being while working from home.

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