How to Fight Zoom Fatigue: Five Practical Steps
Remote working and video conferences have become the new norm in 2020. In order for the work-from-home scenario to be viable during the COVID-19 crisis, there’s been a serious uptick in Zoom meetings and calls for almost everyone working from home. In April of 2020, Zoom announced it had over 300 million daily meeting participants. But as popular as the Zoom option is for meetings, it’s created another issue — a phenomenon known as “Zoom Fatigue.” Yes, Zoom Fatigue is real, and it’s important to understand how to fight it so you can ultimately be more productive.
What Causes Zoom Fatigue?
Have you ever wondered why you’re so tired even though all you’ve done is sit in your chair all day? Zoom meetings drain your energy due to a change in meeting behavior and overstimulation. Unlike face-to-face meetings, you’re trying to ward off new distractions like pets barking or children screaming, all while paying attention to a speaker. This can create a great amount of additional tension as you conduct your virtual meetings. Not to mention the added pressure of feeling “on” for a meeting and being ready to respond at a moment’s notice.
Zoom meetings also cause over-stimulation. Not only are you looking for visual cues and trying to stay engaged in your meeting, but you’re observing multiple people in multiple environments. Prior to Zoom, you probably didn’t care what your colleague’s home office looked like. But now, in addition to participating in a virtual meeting, you also might be analyzing their choice of paint colors or the books on their shelves. This extra stimulation is too much and can eventually wear on you.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make the most of remote working, while preserving your energy (and sanity).
1. Eliminate Distractions
This may seem like an obvious suggestion but you might be more distracted during your Zoom meetings than you realize. By eliminating all distractions, you can make your Zoom calls more productive and excel at paying attention. From family members or pets to TV and email, there’s no shortage of temptations to take you away from your meeting. When you’re worried about something (or someone) interrupting or distracting you, it creates unnecessary stress and uses additional energy.
But it’s not only others in your house who could cause a distraction. Making sure your cell phone is silent and your email and chat notifications are off eliminates distractions as well. Giving your full attention to the Zoom call isn’t just more productive — you’ll also feel less tension and stress.
2. Avoid Multitasking
Before responding to an email or looking over notes for a project, ask yourself if it can wait until there’s a break. Multitasking is not only unproductive, it also creates added stress during your Zoom calls. Turns out, studies suggest multitasking can actually reduce your productivity by up to 40%. Give yourself permission to concentrate on one task at a time. You’ll pay closer attention and not feel as overwhelmed at the end of the call.
3. Adjust Your Screen Settings
There are features you can use to lessen your distractions and keep you more focused during your virtual meetings.
- Stop Looking At Yourself. Yes, you are handsome. You are beautiful. Your skin looks amazing. But you don’t need a Zoom call to confirm how great you look. By turning off the self-view feature, you will have one less distraction. Others can still see you, but you’re not preoccupied with looking at yourself.
- Choose Speaker View. You can also select the Speaker View in Zoom so you only focus on the person who is talking. This keeps you from constantly looking at others on the call.
- Utilize a Live Caption Service. Adding live captions to Zoom calls can help participants stay more engaged and focused, ensuring everyone on the call can understand the message. A service such as Rev’s Zoom live closed captions, allows the information to be accessible to all participants, which makes everyone more productive.
4. Allow Time Before You Tackle Your Agenda
If you’re the one leading the Zoom call, take a few moments at the start before you dive right into your meeting topics. This will help alleviate tension and set the tone for your meeting. If you were participating in a face to face meeting, you wouldn’t walk into a conference room and immediately start looking at charts. No, you would greet people and catch up with your team members for a bit. You’d give people the courteous 5 minutes to show up in case they’re running late. The same principle applies in a Zoom call and allows everyone a mental break before tackling a subject.
5. Take Breaks and Walks Immediately After a Zoom Meeting
Even if you only have 15 minutes to spare, studies show taking a walk can help boost your mood and lessen stress. If you can squeeze in time for short breaks or brisk walks, you can fight the onset of Zoom Fatigue. For example, if you were in an office setting, you would take breaks to utilize the break room or speak to a colleague. But when you work from home you have to create new opportunities to increase your blood flow and de-stress throughout the day.
When You Fight Zoom Fatigue, You Gain Productivity
It’s hard to say if the work from home option will continue in such large numbers. But what is known is there are steps you can take to ensure your Zoom meetings and Zoom calls are productive. Fortunately, video calls do not have to rob you of your energy. You can take steps such as adding live captions for better focus, eliminating distractions, and taking short breaks. By taking these extra steps, you can conquer Zoom Fatigue and still have energy at the end of your workday.