Virtual meetings have become a regular part of most people’s lives. The result? Zoom fatigue. (Photo from Unsplash)
The pandemic has changed the way people live in more ways than one. And one of the biggest changes can be seen on how people work their way to no-touch engagements. To help stop the spread of the virus, experts suggest minimizing human contact as much as possible. This forces many people to work, play, and socialize at the comfort of their homes or inside their luxury condo. Over time, video meetings and virtual events become the new normal. This change is not one without a cost though. As zoom meetings take a big part of many people’s daily life, Zoom fatigue becomes the latest buzzword in today’s workforce.
Zoom fatigue is just like what its name suggests. It is the general tiredness you feel in-between or after a video call or a Zoom meeting. And if you have been working from home for quite a while, you might have experienced it in some ways.
Do You Have Zoom Fatigue?
Signs of Zoom fatigue can feel similar with signs with those of burnout. The difference is you feel this particular tiredness after joining Zoom meetings or other kinds of e-communication platforms like Skype or Facetime. For instance, you always feel more drained than usual after video meetings. Just the thought of turning your camera on and virtually hanging out with your family, friends or colleagues tire you out already. You also notice that your productivity is declining. Not to mention the eye strain you might get from staring at the screen for too long.
But why do many people find virtual meetings so tiring? Talking on video chats makes it hard to read other people’s body language and other nonverbal cues. As a result, you have to pay extra attention to what the other people on the line are saying or if you are all on the same page. A delay on real-time feedback is another issue. All of these stressors can be overwhelming for the brain and cause Zoom fatigue.
How Can You Cope with Zoom Fatigue?
Even if the world is slowly heading to a life after a pandemic, the need for virtual meetings is likely here to stay. Not everyone can avoid it, but there are a few ways to make the experience less tiring. Here’s what you can do to prevent Zoom fatigue.
Try Not to Multitask
Being in a virtual meeting is not the time for you to do unrelated work. (Photo from Unsplash)
Resist the urge to respond to other emails, update your grocery list, or mindlessly scroll through social media during this time. People cannot multitask. It takes at least 15-30 minutes for the brain to effectively switch goals. That is why shuffling from one task to another cuts your focus and productivity. You might miss important parts of the meeting so you need to go through it again. In short, multitasking only adds unnecessary work and stress. Help your mind remain present during meetings. Put your phone away or place it on silent. Close any unrelated emails or applications on screen. Having a simple fidget toy around also helps if you are someone who easily gets distracted. Remember, everyone wants to get things done quickly. But doing so many things at once only slows you down.
Limit Distractions on Your Screen
It takes a lot of brainpower to process everything that is happening on screen during video calls. Most of the time, you will be hyper focused on staring at your face, checking out how you look. You might also be constantly worrying about the background noises on your place or how the surroundings of your luxury condo unit look. The distractions go beyond you too. Say you are in a group call; staring and making eye contact with multiple faces on the screen can be draining and intimidating. Chances are you will be distracted by the different backgrounds they use as well. Processing all this visual information at the same time can be mentally taxing.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution for this. Explore the settings of whatever video platform you are using and make needed adjustments. For example, you can hide your self-camera view on Zoom by clicking the “Hide Self View” option. Practice muting your mic when you are not speaking as well. By doing these, you will be less fixated on monitoring yourself and your surroundings. If you feel distracted with the many faces you see on screen, take short breaks by minimizing the window or simply looking away from the screen every now and then.
Move Around and Stretch Your Muscles
Loosening up your muscles before or while working gives you the energy boost you need to reframe your focus and be more productive. (Photo from Unsplash)
Working in an office setting gives you some freedom to at least stretch your muscles during or after meetings. You can stand up to move your legs or walk to the office pantry to grab something to drink. But that is not the case for remote workers who mostly rely on virtual meetings. Because they need to stay within their video frames, their movement is very limited. One way around this is to turn your camera off for a few minutes, step back from the computer screen, and stretch.
You can try changing your position by standing up for a few minutes (if you have been sitting for a while). Quick upper body stretches help too. To loosen up your shoulders, do the shoulder shrug. Start by raising your shoulders up to your ears. Drop your shoulders after two seconds and start again. If you can’t squeeze a short off-cam time to stretch during your meeting, you can do it afterward. Try brisk walking around your luxury condo for a few minutes to get your blood pumping and clear your head.
Don’t Default to Video Calls – Switch to Calls or Email When You Can
Zoom catch ups are convenient, but not every online interaction has to be on camera. Or in meme-speak: this could have been an email. Knowing how tiring video calls can be, it is always important to assess a meeting’s purpose and consider if a video meeting is really needed. If you are in charge, ask yourself: can the conversation happen just as effectively through email, text messages, or quick phone calls? If so, suggest switching. This is especially fitting to conversations outside work like those with your acquaintances and clients, or in situations when a video call might feel too personal.
But of course, there are times when it is not your call to change or cancel a virtual meeting. In this case, you can still make the experience less draining by timing each meeting right. Block out at least 15 minutes between back-to-back meetings so you can take a break. It is important to schedule at least two “Zoom-free” days too to let your mind rest.
More Zoom-Meeting Tips from the Brittany Salesforce
Being a real estate professional means dealing with multiple calls, video conferences, and virtual trippings. (Photo from Unsplash)
As the selling arm of Brittany by Vistaland, the Brittany Salesforce places professionalism and employee well-being on the core of its corporate culture. So how do members of the Brittany Salesforce find the balance? Here are some other virtual meeting tips that sales professionals can adapt from the team to avoid Zoom fatigue.
KEEP ZOOM MEETINGS CLEAR & MEANINGFUL. Hopping on a virtual meeting without knowing what is going to happen can make you feel anxious and all over the place. Help everyone be on the same page by having a clear meeting agenda. The Zoom meeting etiquette on the Brittany Salesforce includes sending a meeting agenda to all participants. All details before and after virtual conferences are also accessible on Brittany’s seller portal: the E-suite.
USE A UNIFORM VIRTUAL BACKGROUND. Using the same virtual background as with everyone else in the meeting will reduce clutter and stressors on screen. This will also give extra privacy to all participants.
USE SPEAKER VIEW. A virtual meeting with a bug team can be distracting. Using the Speaker View option on Zoom lets the speaker’s video occupy the screen. This makes it easy for you to focus and listen.
At the end of the day, feeling stressed or tired means your mind and body is calling you to rest. Zoom fatigue is real – take it seriously. Be kind to yourself and set up healthy boundaries. Keep in mind that it is okay to let your team or someone know your limits or when you need to take a break. Doing so might be hard at first, but it is important to keep you healthy and productive in the long run.