Zoom Fatigue: the exhaustion, worry, or burnout associated with the overuse of virtual platforms for communication. While the title itself points the finger at a specific platform, Zoom is not the only guilty culprit of causation – Teams, Google Hangouts, WebEx, Skype, you name it. Chances are that these platforms have been the cause of your increased weariness. Since moving into this new reality of digital communications, we’ve become dependent on video conferences as a way of connecting with one another, and while it’s an incredibly useful tool, they can also have an entirely different effect on our well-being. It becomes taxing to get on video even to see friends and family these days, furthering the isolation.
So how do we combat it? I’ve explored various tips and tricks over the last few months, many of which have been successful for me. Sometimes it can take a while to recover from the burn out, but the top four tips that I’ve outlined below are certainly worth implementing.
1 – Video Optional
There is a time and a place for video. When it’s one-on-one, a training session, or we’re looking for visual cues in the meeting, there definitely can be a need for ensuring our video is on. But if you feel it won’t impact the effectiveness of the content, consider making certain meetings video optional, or switch to a teleconference instead! This reduces the need to feel like you’re “on” all the time, removing some of the pressure. Not seeing yourself on the video screen can also help, so you feel less self-conscious about how you’re presenting yourself to others.
2 – Schedule Breaks
There is nothing worse than back-to-back-to-back meetings. You get nothing done, there’s no time to breathe, and if one meeting is running behind schedule, everything gets backed up. Try to schedule at least 30 minutes between every call. If that’s not a feasible option, then set the expectation for all meetings to end 10 minutes early, so you have that time to decompress in-between. Prioritizing that “you time” is imperative to getting through the day.
3 – More Efficient Meetings
If we’re more conscientious with how we run our meetings, we can make them less taxing for both ourselves and our team. By setting an agenda, and even reducing the length of meetings, you can get across the relevant information, hold everyone’s active attention, and spend less time in meetings. While this was important before the pandemic for in person meetings, it is arguably even more important now.
4 – Set Boundaries
This is something to be kept in mind for both work and personal life, where possible. Make an effort to schedule yourself one day a week where you don’t book meetings, so you have the freedom to focus on the tasks at hand. You should feel comfortable communicating this to your colleagues – setting those expectations are incredibly important. Setting boundaries with friends and family are also important – you won’t be able to say yes to every opportunity to connect with them online, so make certain when you do decline an invitation, you do so with good intentions. Communication is so key these days, so make sure that isn’t lost when communicating your boundaries.
Natalie Wallace, CAE
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