It’s been just over a year since work from home started, and we know that many of you are currently experiencing or have experienced zoom fatigue. The feeling of being extra tired post-work, the moment when you catch yourself sighing before a zoom meeting, or the realization that you’ve been spacing out for the past 3 minutes while your coworker is presenting? Those are all symptoms of zoom fatigue.
We get zoom fatigue because 1. While we’re video calling, we are constantly forced to focus more intently on conversations to absorb information. We could no longer rely on non-verbal cues such as tone of voice or body language to extract information. Instead, the speaker is obligated to fill the void of muted mics, and listeners must maintain eye contact to exhibit engagement and interest. 2. When we have our video cameras on, our gaze tends to end up on ourselves. Therefore, not only are we trying our hardest to pay attention to others, but we’re also subconsciously paying attention to ourselves. Imagine every time you walk past a mirror, do you catch yourself looking at yourself in it? 3. When we zoom call, we are confined to one location for a prolonged period of time. It forces us to stay still and unnaturally limits our movements. According to Stanford News, “There’s a growing research now that says when people are moving, they’re performing better cognitively.” All three of these factors contribute to zoom fatigue, but we’ve compiled a few easy ways to mitigate zoom fatigue.
1. Avoid Multitasking
According to a Stanford study, you lose 40% of your productivity when you multitask versus when you prioritize one task at a time. Remove any distractions when you’re in a Zoom call. Being present and focusing on one task at a time can help reduce fatigue.
2. Hide Your Video from Self
This trick directly addresses the fact that when we have our video cameras on, we’re more intently focused on our own expressions. By hiding/closing your video when possible, you will allow yourself to focus more on others in the video call. It will help you focus better, absorb information quicker, and feel more rejuvenated in video calls.
3. Switch to Phone/Voice Calls or Emails/Texts Whenever Possible
While working at home, we might feel obligated to Zoom in whenever there is a meeting. However, we forget that there are other options. People can suggest voice calling or picking up the phone and dialling a number. They can also send text messages and emails to less urgent matters. Not every meeting needs to be an active video call. Phone calls, voice calls, and emails are just as acceptable!
4. Schedule Off-Screen Breaks during Meetings
During Zoom meetings, take breaks! If your call is running longer than 30 mins, take a 5-10 minute break at the 30 mins mark. Ask your participants to turn off their cameras, stretch, and walk around. Sitting still for too long can restrict your cognitive skills. Therefore, it is crucial to encourage participants to move around to minimize zoom fatigue.
5. Set an Agenda
At the beginning of a Zoom meeting, set an agenda and inform participants of that agenda so they know what to expect. Setting an agenda and having a clear purpose gives more structure to the meeting. It allows participants to have a comprehension of what to expect in the respective meeting and the duration of the meeting.