Combating Zoom Fatigue

In last week’s ? podcast episode we focused on how to PREPARE so we can excel in online meetings. In this week’s newsletter, let’s shift to combating “ZOOM FATIGUE.” 

Have you noticed more and more people complaining about feeling exhausted? Fortunately, there are habits we can adopt to overcome Zoom fatigue! 

Based on some research (e.g. HBR and FastCompany) plus my own observations and experiences, I created this summary for you:

  1. Why online meetings are exhausting
  2. 5 Hacks to combat Zoom fatigue
  3. Reminders of the upside of WFH and online meetings

Let’s do this!

Zoom Fatigue: WHY ONLINE MEETINGS ARE EXHAUSTING

Have you been feeling tired?  Have your co-workers been complaining about feeling exhausted?  There are plenty of valid reasons why.

zoom fatigue - dog sleeping - image: Unsplash @ brunocervera
image: Unsplash @ brunocervera

Online meetings are exhausting because:

  • We are more stationary, leashed to our screen. Sitting all day can result in an aching back, throbbing headache, decreased circulation, sleeplessness,…
  • We focus intensely on faces, which is exhausting. Do you remember the days of looking around a meeting room at inanimate objects? 
  • Staring at a screen causes eye strain. Are your eyes feeling dry?  Do you have a headache?
  • It’s exhausting to look at ourselves. Sure, being self-aware is one thing, but have you considered what proportion of our online meeting time we spend looking at and thinking about ourselves?
  • There are no physical breaks.  Online meetings mean we don’t have to walk to another meeting room.  We are missing that opportunity to mentally and physically recharge.
zoom meeting imag unsplash @ dylanferreira
image: Unsplash @ dylanferriera

Fortunately, we can do something about it!

 


5 HACKS TO COMBAT ZOOM FATIGUE

zoom fatigue (image Unsplash @ vheath)

image: Unsplash @ vheath

1️⃣ Look Away From the Screen

  • Whether you’re on a Zoom call, doing email, or creating a document, use the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away. 
  • Write notes using a pen and paper (in your notebook or on the printed meeting agenda), not on another screen.
  • In many contexts, an audio-only phone call might be preferable.  Yes, you lose facial expressions and body language, but you gain screen-free time and mobility.

 

2️⃣ Customize Your Screen View

  • Use speaker view so you focus on the person who’s talking. (Unless you’re leading the meeting, in which case use gallery view so you can monitor participants’ body language.)
  • Once you check how others see you onscreen, turn off your self-view so you’re not needless distracted.  Here’s how on Zoom.
  • While you’re at it, close all other windows on your device and turn off notifications.

3️⃣ Use Your Clock 

  • Schedule meetings with a minimum of 10 minutes buffer. Protect your time to get up and walk around between meetings.
  • Set the timer on your phone to remind yourself to get up and walk around at least once every hour.  This helps not just with physical activity, but also with productivity.  Use your timer to set time-bound objectives.
  • Again, the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away. 

 

 

4️⃣ Get Physical

  • Go for a walk N talk instead of a Zoom call, as executive recruiter Sharon-Mah-Gin suggests.
  • Move! Run up and down your stairs or do jumping jacks between meetings. 
  • Try a standing desk.  (I love mine!)
  • Self-care will pay-off in terms of both happiness and productivity. Make sure you cover-off Tosca Reno’s 3Es of Wellness: Exercise every day, Eat nutritious food, and look after your Emotional well-being

5️⃣ Focus

  • Turn off notifications on your computer and your phone.  
  • No multitasking! Research shows there’s really no such thing anyway.  What you’re really doing is “switching.” You’re also impeding your memory and other cognitive functions. 

 

happy zoomers

We got this!

 


THE UPSIDE OF ONLINE MEETINGS

An optimistic perspective can certainly help.  There are benefits of WFH (working-from-home) and online meetings, right?  Here are just a few benefits of online meetings:

  • We can save time.  No commute-time, no travel.
  • We can save money. Again, no travel.  No parking. No expensive coffee shops.
  • We can be comfortable. Our favourite food and drink are nearby in our kitchen. We can wear more comfortable clothes.  No one can see if we’re wearing our Louboutin’s or our comfy slippers!
  • We can be physically closer to our favourite people. Our family members and roommates might be in the next room! 
  • Seeing ourselves onscreen can make us more self-aware.  We can adjust our posture and expressions in realtime. I have a friend who decided to get braces after noticing in Zoom calls that her teeth were impeding her smile!

There are plenty of reasons to smile!
zoom fatigue can be overcome - image: Unsplash @ goodfacesclub
image: Unsplash @ goodfacesclub

So yes, Zoom meetings are exhausting, but there is some upside, and we can adopt some good habits:

 

  1. Look away from the screen
  2. Customize your screen view
  3. Use your clock
  4. Get physical
  5. Focus

One other important suggestion: SLEEP QUALITY.  If you haven’t listened yet, I recommend this ? podcast episode where I interviewed Oksana Andreiuk, M.Biotech, who shares many tips to improve our sleep hygiene and ultimately our sleep quality.

Oksana Andreiuk & Andrea Wojnicki talk SLEEP

Any other tips to help us combat Zoom fatigue?  Please ? email me and let me know.  I’ll share your ideas in a future newsletter!

 
Please forward this email to anyone who might appreciate some advice on communication skills and combating zoom fatigueThank you!

Have a great week.
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