5 Tips To Help Fight ‘Zoom Fatigue’ While Remotely

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No, the title of this article is not a joke. “Zoom Fatigue” is an actual, real-life issue that many of us now-remote workers have been struggling with. As a small business owner, you’ve undoubtedly had to move most of your business online, including staff and vendor meetings. It’s true that people have been attending way more virtual meetings (on applications like Zoom) during the workday than ever before. And all of that constant video conferencing from home has ended up being pretty draining. 

Why are online meetings taking so much out of us, though? You would think they would be easier to accomplish versus in-person meetings, right?

Well, workers are finding that they actually need to focus more intensely during these remote sessions. This is due to the lack of non-verbal cues, awkward silences or pauses, sustained eye contact, everyday life interruptions (like the kids running into the room unexpectedly), and, you know, that very stressful action of staring at your own face for an extended period of time. All of this drains us at the end of our regular workday. 

If you’re starting to feel that daily lag, it’s time to make some changes to combat your Zoom Fatigue before it interferes with your productivity. Here are five tips to help you get some of your energy back.

1. Make It A Phone Call

First, ask yourself: Does this meeting really need to be a meeting? If the answer is yes, consider whether or not it needs to be a video call. Can you just as easily hash things out over the phone?

If you’re feeling Zoomed-out, there’s nothing wrong with suggesting a quick phone call for your last meeting of the day. Instead of having to focus on five different people talking, you only have to concentrate on one voice over the phone. And instead of having to sit down in front of your computer camera, you can get up and walk around while chatting.

2. Keep A Strict Limit

If your calendar is jam-packed with video meetings from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every single day, you’re not going to have any energy left at the end of the day to get work done. Try setting strict limits for yourself when it comes to the number of Zoom calls you’re allowed. We recommend only allotting for two or three virtual meetings per day. Going even further, try keeping each of those meetings to under an hour long.

By setting time and schedule limits for your online meetings, you’ll give yourself some much-needed visual breaks throughout the day.

3. Stop Multitasking During Calls

We’re all guilty of this one. You may be on a Zoom call, but you’ve also got 53 tabs open on your web browser, you’re answering an email, and your phone is ringing off the hook. This isn’t helping your productivity — rather, it’s hurting it.

Close out those tabs, turn your phone off, and stay present on the Zoom call. We know it can be challenging, but just remind yourself that whatever it is, it can wait. 

4. Avoid The Video Default

It’s hard to say when turning on your video to connect with someone became the norm, but now many of us feel obligated to do so. We’re choosing to send a Zoom link to our clients, outside vendors, and other people we’ve never met before instead of talking on the phone or texting them. Avoiding the video default tendency will prevent Zoom Fatigue from creeping in as quickly.

A video call is fairly intimate, so you shouldn’t feel weird about suggesting a regular call instead when a client FaceTimes you. You also shouldn’t feel obligated to immediately turn on your video when meeting with people outside of your organization.

5. Allow Workers To Opt-In To Social Calls 

While, yes, scheduling fun meetings with your team can be a great stress reliever at the end of a long work week, sometimes it can have the exact opposite effect. Think about those team members who had an extremely busy week and may have used a little overtime working on a project, connecting with a client, or meeting a rough deadline. If they are mandated to go to your Zoom Happy Hour after all of that, it’s just going to burn them out more.

Instead, allow your employees to opt-in to those social calls. By all means, still have these meetings for those who want to socialize and catch up with their co-workers, just don’t make everyone obligated to join. 

You don’t need to implement every single one of these tips into your workday — we know it can be tough to change up how you accomplish meetings. But with a little structure, more breaks, and less multitasking, you’ll become a much more focused small business owner and can rid yourself of that awful Zoom Fatigue. 

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