Why video calls may be draining your energy, and how to avoid Zoom Fatigue
It has been almost a year since we’ve transitioned to remote work. With the inability to gather in person, meetings have gone virtual through platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.
Over time, working from home has begun to lose its appeal. Many of us have begun to feel the strain of “Zoom fatigue.” The term describes the feeling of tiredness or exhaustion workers may feel after long or consecutive video calls. Many are experiencing it.
Experts say video calls lack the non-verbal and visual cues that we rely on in face-to-face interactions. This requires us to work harder to communicate with and understand one another over video calls. It’s also easy to become overwhelmed with information and stimuli, and ever-present delays and lags take a toll.
While it may be some time before we can go back to working and meeting together in person, there are a few things we can do in the meantime to ease the effects of Zoom fatigue and make remote work more productive.
Not every conversation needs to be a video call
When we first transitioned to working from home, video conferencing became the norm for meetings, partially due to its novelty. We saw its popularity surge – from video calls with colleagues to virtual happy hours with friends.
But not every conversation needs to be a video call. Picking up the phone or writing an email can be just as effective. Knowing when to use each tool may take some time to work out based on your company culture, but figuring this out can save time and energy for everyone involved.
When you have to meet, keep it short
It’s easy to book a full day of back-to-back calls, leaving us with little opportunity to regroup, relax and gather our thoughts before the next meeting.
We have a natural tendency to book meetings for 30 or 60 minutes. When scheduling your next meeting, ask yourself if it can be done in 15, 20 or 45 minutes.
Booking meetings in shorter time blocks allows us extra time between calls to decompress and unwind.
Make sure you wrap up your meetings on time, and stick to the agenda (you did create an agenda, right?).
Schedule regular breaks throughout your day
Speaking of decompressing, it’s important to schedule breaks into your day. When working from home, it’s easy to lose your sense of work-life balance and forget to make time for yourself. Proactively scheduling time for lunch and breaks throughout the day helps ensure you’ve made time for yourself.
Cognitive research shows that multitasking is not only inefficient, but also tiring for our brains.
Virtual meetings can feel like a convenient time to check emails or work on other tasks,
particularly if it’s a meeting you’re not overly involved in, but it’s important to stay focused.
Focus on the task at hand and set your notifications to “do not disturb” if possible. You’ll thank yourself later.
Make time for self-care, whether it be before, during or after your workday. Find activities that make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated – whether it be going for a jog at lunch, starting your day with meditation or ending it by cozying up with a good book – and make time for them.
The stress of the pandemic coupled with Zoom Fatigue makes it all the more important to partake in fulfilling and sustainable self-care activities.
Working remotely in the midst of a pandemic can be confusing and stressful on the best of days. It’s important to consider how our work practices may be exacerbating this stress, and take the necessary steps to make working from home less stressful and more productive.
About the Author:
Carter is a current public relations student at the Nova Scotia Community College and an alumnus of Dalhousie University’s International Development Studies program.
Click here to learn more about Carter!