March 29 2021

6 Simple Ways to Overcome Zoom Fatigue

“Zoom fatigue” describes the tiredness, worry, or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication. Like other experiences associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Zoom fatigue is widely prevalent, intense, and completely new.

Let’s take a quick look at some numbers. If we consider that ZOOM has 300 million daily meeting participants, compared to just 10 million in December 2019, Google Meet's figures are around 100 million participants logging into meetings every day, Microsoft Teams with 75 million daily active users we can get an idea of the large numbers of people using video conferencing tools.

Why do we find video calls so tiring?

In part, it’s because they force us to focus more intently on conversations in order to absorb information. They also require us to stare directly at a screen for minutes at a time without any visual or mental break, which is tiring. To make video calls less exhausting for yourself, try using a few research-based tips.

What causes Zoom fatigue?

Heavy load on our brain: When we interact with another person through the screen, our brains have to work much harder. We miss many of the other signals we have during a real-life conversation like the smell of the room or some detail in our peripheral vision. This additional information helps our brains make sense of what is happening.

We’re Easily Distracted: The temptation to check email or Teams or keep working on something else during a meeting. We tell ourselves we can do both things, but the fact is, video conferences already requires too much of our attention to allow for effective multitasking.

Tech issues: Technical errors and disruptions make engaging even more difficult:  Unreliable Wi-Fi connections, frozen screens, screen sharing difficulties, software crashes, device lags make this issue worse.

Mirror-effect: Something curious about videoconferencing is that when we sit there, we see ourselves mirrored back at us. This can make us more self-conscious and less certain in our interactions. We may try harder but we also find it more stressful.

The Positives

Mostly, video chatting has allowed human connections to grow in ways that would have been impossible just a few years ago. These tools enable us to maintain long-distance relationships, connect workrooms remotely, and even now, in spite of the mental exhaustion they can generate, encourage some sense of togetherness during a pandemic.

6 Simple Solutions

  1. Avoid multitasking while on a video call to lower your cognitive load and help you pay attention.
  2. Take a break between calls and get away from the screen to give you time to reflect, regroup, and recover.
  3. Hiding the image of yourself during a videoconference can make you feel less self-conscious and more focused on what others are saying.
  4. If it’s a work meeting that can be done by phone, try walking at the same time. Walking meetings are known to improve creativity, and can help reduce stress as well.
  5. For external calls, avoid defaulting to video, especially if you don’t know each other well.
  6. Schedule screen free time: Even if it’s not during the workday, designating some video call-free time in your life will help with the feeling of being overwhelmed. What you choose to do with that time is up to you. Read a book. Do yoga. Play with your cat. Whatever helps you de-stress.

We hope you have found some useful information in our article, and we love discussing these topics with current and prospective clients. If you have any questions at all we are more than happy to discuss! Say hello to Charles in our live chat :)

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