If you are feeling more drained at home after a workday than you used to be when you went to the office, you’re not alone. In this new normal, we’ve all been communicating more via Zoom meetings than ever before. The term “Zoom fatigue” has garnered a lot of clicks on Google over the past 1 month. But the question is, why are these video meetings so exhausting?
These video calls require more focus and attention from you than any face-to-face meeting. On video calls you feel the need to give extra attention to figure out non-verbal cues – expressions, tone and pitch of the person talking – to absorb maximum information from them and not to get distracted by their surroundings. And to show that you’re attentive and processing the information requires you to constantly look in the camera – feeding into the energy drain.
Now you shouldn’t have to feel exhausted every day so here are some tips to make video conferencing a little less exhausting:
1. Get away from multitasking
It’s easy to believe that you can avail the chance of doing more in less time. But let’s face it, less is always more in terms of productivity. For multitasking you have to juggle between certain parts of the brain for different types of tasks which can cost you 40% of your productive time. To avoid compromising on your focus in your next call make sure you:
- Keep other tabs and programs closed or minimized.
- Put all the distractions away like setting your phone on silent.
- Stay present at the moment by focusing on one thing.
2. Take short breaks
To maintain your attention span you can always have mini breaks during a long video call by minimizing the window. But that doesn’t mean you can indulge in some other activity. You can always have a breather in long calls where you can just look away from your computer screen and rest your eyes.
Try having a 15 minutes gap between back-to-back meetings and walk around a little bit to refresh yourself for the next call. For the days when you just can’t escape long video calls, you need to make sure it’s okay for the team to turn off their cameras for some portions of the meeting.
3. Minimize on-screen distractions
According to studies, when you are on a video call it’s very hard to not look at yourself on the screen. Due to the added social pressure of being watched by others, you tend to spend a lot of time focusing on yourself on the screen because you want to look perfect and behave correctly in front of the camera.
It would also surprise you to know that while on video call, you don’t just look at people’s faces but unintentionally you also tend to focus a lot on their surroundings or what’s happening in their background. Due to these on-going distractions your brain processes so many environmental visual cues at a time that it may cause a “mental fatigue”. To overcome this you should:
- Try hiding yourself from the view while on video calls
- Encourage people to sit in front of a plain background or possibly alone in a room with less distractions in the background
By doing so you can actually focus on what is being discussed in the meeting without being distracted by yourself on the screen and other’s surroundings.
4. Make virtual social events voluntary
It’s not even a question of being an introvert or an extrovert, long back-to-back virtual gatherings can drain you regardless. So if you are planning to host a virtual social event, be mindful of explicitly making these meetings optional for people to attend so that they don’t feel obligated to join.
Also, if you are hosting a virtual meeting for a larger group you should make your life a little easier and consider appointing a facilitator. It can save you from the exhausting work of being a host and a mediator too. The facilitator will lead your meeting, making everyone clear about when to speak and ask questions to avoid any overlaps. This way everyone gets their preferred amount of screen time.
5. Have external meetings over a phone call
Today, people treat video calls as a default medium to have meetings or conversations. This may especially overwhelm you if you are having a meeting with a client or vendor for the first time. A video call may be considered quite intimate in this situation. And connecting over video calls for such meetings may be considered invasive by you or your client or both!
It is always better to have meetings with someone outside your organization over a phone call. Try stating this to your clients that you would like to have a phone call meeting beforehand so that they don’t feel obliged to send a Zoom invite and can make things more conversational. Once you have built a good relationship with them you can always have video calls for detailed agendas.
To summarize, you can take a few steps to cut back on the ‘Zoom fatigue’.
- Refrain from multitasking during a Zoom meeting because it steals your attention from what is being discussed.
- Have short breaks between back-to-back Zoom meetings to refresh and refocus yourself.
- Reduce on-screen distractions.
- Make virtual social events optional.
- Avoid having video calls with first time clients as it can be a little uncomfortable for both.
It’s exhausting enough trying to adjust in this new normal scenario so save yourself from being drained by the day’s end by following these tips. Since the digital workplace is the new normal, you need to make sure to exceed customer expectations through digital transformation services. Let’s achieve it together.