Aug 6, 2023

How to Curb Zoom Fatigue

Technology has led to many incredible opportunities for business owners and their employees. One of the most recent examples is that most companies can operate remotely. This has proven beneficial as we navigate and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While many companies opt for hybrid work (half in the office, half remote), others have gone utterly remote for the foreseeable future. This presents many opportunities for many employees, but it also has its downfalls.

One of the most significant downsides of remote work is the dreaded “Zoom fatigue” that comes with the seemingly endless video meetings. According to GlobeNewswire, nearly half of professionals have reported that they experience Zoom fatigue.

So, how can you prevent your employees from experiencing burnout from video meetings? Whether your company has always worked remotely or adjusting to a changing world, you may benefit from our tips for curbing Zoom fatigue. So, let’s dive in below!

What causes Zoom fatigue?

To understand how to combat zoom fatigue, it’s helpful to start by looking at precisely the source of this fatigue. 

According to VeryWellMind, research around video meetings began as early as 2008. One study found that meeting over video rather than in-person demands more cognitive work from employees. That’s because, in addition to planning meetings, participants must also focus on tasks like simulating eye contact–and this is all while actively listening to their peers. 

We’re also negatively impacted by our lack of mobility when tethered to the screen. As Stanford News shares, the increased stagnation throughout the workday further inhibits cognitive ability because we work best when we can be more fluid in our movements, rather than staying in fixed positions to maintain webcam visibility.

Of course, staring at a screen has its negative effects, which we’ll discuss later. But overall, Zoom meetings ask for a lot more mental energy than we’ve previously been used to. As a result, it can be highly taxing–especially when you consider that many of us spend all day sitting alone in our home offices.

Luckily, there are a few ways to curb the adverse effects of all of this.

How can I prevent Zoom fatigue?

There are tons of positives to meeting over Zoom. For many people, it’s a highly convenient alternative to meeting in the office every day. 
To ensure your company can continue to reap these benefits while still prioritising the mental and physical health of your employees, the following tips will come in handy:

Take frequent breaks from your screen

Staring at a screen is a primary culprit for Zoom fatigue. According to Business Insider, the negative effects of too much screen time can lead to issues such as eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, and pain in your neck and back.

Additionally, exposure to blue light can make it difficult to fall asleep at night–so if you’re up late working from home, you may experience even more fatigue in the morning.

We suggest taking breaks and looking away from your computer screen whenever possible. For example, utilise your lunch break to eat a nourishing meal, walk around the block, read a book, or spend time with a housemate or pet–anything that gets you away from your screen! Even taking a few minutes to stand up and stretch between projects and meetings can make a huge difference. 

You should still consider taking breaks for longer meetings that cannot be avoided. By this, we mean turning off the camera, looking away from the screen, and giving your eyes and body a break from the demands of the video conference while still maintaining focus on the matter(s) at hand. This is similar to how we allow ourselves time to shift positions in our chairs, look down at our notes, or find other ways to maintain focus in a physical meeting that runs more than an hour.

Get outside and exercise when you can

When you work from home and attend virtual meetings, you may be missing out on some of the daily exercises you would otherwise be getting from commuting to work and moving around the office.

Physical exercise is a great way to boost both your physical and mental energy; it can even help your productivity levels to produce better work! So not only does moving your body help you feel better, but it can also make you an even better boss or employee.

We suggest getting up and taking a walk at least once a day if possible–getting some fresh air outdoors is ideal, but even if you’re just taking a few laps around the house, taking your eyes off of the screen and getting your body moving can be a huge game-changer!

Take time to connect with loved ones

Constant zoom meetings can become especially straining if your coworkers are the only people you communicate with throughout the day. Connecting with your loved ones regularly has tons of health benefits, and in fact, failing to do so regularly can have adverse effects on your health.

We suggest finding time to spend with your family and friends as often as possible. While in-person quality time will have the most positive impact, even a phone call can lift your spirits and ease some of the fatigue of working from home!

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Eliminate unnecessary video meetings

Have you ever sat in a Zoom meeting and thought to yourself: “Couldn’t this information have been shared in an email?!” Most of us have!

On the one hand, meeting over video is a great way for coworkers to connect and speak to one another when they can’t make it into the office. But on the other hand, sometimes it’s unnecessary, especially when people are already busy and burnt out!

For this reason, it’s a good idea to be selective about the meetings you schedule. If it seems like something that can easily be discussed over email or Slack, it’s probably best to keep it there. 

Plan occasional in-person meetings when possible

According to the Washington Post, 8 in 10 executives prefer in-person meetings to virtual ones, and face-to-face requests are 34x more effective than emails. Corporate trainer Paul Axtel notes that “in-person meetings provide a sense of intimacy, connection, and empathy that is difficult to replicate via video.”

In short, there’s nothing quite like the connection between coworkers who meet in person regularly. That’s why we suggest planning an in-person meeting now and then, as long as safety and health precautions allow it!

It’s still important to keep in mind that, as we mentioned above, no one wants to sit in a Zoom meeting that could have been an email, so they don’t want to do the same in person. For this reason, you should think about which meetings are the most necessary and relevant to the most people, and consider holding those in-person. This will keep everyone as connected and happy as possible. 

While you don’t have to require every employee to come into the office every day, you can encourage people to take a few days out of the week to work in person–even if it’s just half a day! You may be surprised by how many employees enjoy spending time in the office–in fact, they may be surprised, too!

The bottom line

Remote work is a fantastic option for many companies. However, the effects of constant Zoom meetings can be detrimental to the health and productivity of you and your employees. Luckily, implementing these simple tips into your daily routine can help curb some of these adverse effects and keep everyone happy, healthy, and hardworking!

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