Do you find video calls exhausting? If you’re like many people, you may be suffering from “Zoom fatigue.”
The pandemic forced us to move online for meetings thinking video would provide some semblance of “normal” and better keep business flowing. However, even meetings that didn’t used to be in person are now “screen to screen” and we’re tired of them.
Why is a video call more draining than a phone call? One reason is that we are staring at a screen for stretches of time without any break. The only way to show we’re really paying attention is by looking at the screen. But, if you were in a conference room environment, you wouldn’t feel obligated to have your eyes locked on other attendees the entire time.
Another reason we find video calls tiring is that we need to focus more on the conversations we’re having in order to absorb what’s being said. You know you’ve tried it – participating on a video call while checking your email, texting a friend or talking to a family member in the other room. You’re not listening effectively when you’re distracted.
Here are a few suggestions to fighting the fatigue when it comes to video calls:
- Stop multitasking when on a call – Avoid the temptation to get other work done when you’re on a video call. Switching between tasks could cost you as much as 40 percent of your productive time, according to Harvard Business Review. Close other documents, programs or tabs that may distract you during your next meeting. Put your mobile phone out of reach and be present on the call.
- Take a break – Without a visual break to refocus, our brains grow tired. If you’re on a long call, look away from your screen for a few seconds once in a while. This doesn’t mean you should do something else (see “stop multitasking” above), but just give your eyes a rest. If you have a calendar full of calls, consider making meetings five minutes shorter to allow yourself a break in between. Or start your meetings five minutes after the hour to build in that break. Take this time to get out of your seat, walk around your home or office, get a drink of water, etc. If your call is longer than an hour, consider telling attendees it’s ok to have their cameras off for parts of the call.
- Find an alternative, if possible – Most of us are probably over-Zoomed. Instead of a video call, could you conduct your meeting by phone or email? People may be relieved to not have a Zoom or Teams link attached to the meeting invite. Don’t feel compelled to have every meeting via video call. You don’t need to default to video, particularly if you are communicating with someone outside of your company or don’t know the other person very well. It’s okay to suggest a phone call instead.
Just like it took some time to get used to video calls, it may take time to get used to better managing them. Since it doesn’t look like Zoom is going anywhere any time soon, it’s a good idea to figure out how to make it work best for you.
This post is courtesy of MMC Account Manager Jennifer Kardian