Avoiding Zoom fatigue in the Covid-19 era

3 mins read

With remote working becoming the new normal in businesses around the world, avoiding Zoom fatigue may be the best way to make the most of it.

Qinthara Fasya | 7 June 2021

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Many may be elated when it was announced that remote working or work-from-home was the default mode of working when Covid-19 hit in early 2020. But after a year of daily virtual meetings in our PJs, most of us have had enough of this. 

Zoom fatigue or virtual fatigue refers to the exhaustion you experience after participating in any type of video call or conference. This could be the physical exhaustion of looking at screens for long periods of time or mental exhaustion due to the overwhelming flow of information. Furthermore, for those who work from home, work-related issues have not been the primary source of increased stress levels. One in every five employees had additional caregiving responsibilities at home, and these people experienced a 16% increase in burnout, a twofold increase in stress, and a nearly twofold decrease in motivation.

It may be impossible to solve Zoom or virtual fatigue with the current situation, but we can definitely take some steps to avoid this and make the best out of it. Here are some of our tips:

Plan and Manage your Daily Schedule

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Be it through an excel sheet, a physical planner, random sticky notes, friendly desktop or mobile applications, planning your work from home day is essential to keep things on track as much as possible. Laying out your virtual calls for the day allows you to block out the times of day you need to be focused and look presentable, avoiding any rush or uncertainties. 

This could include anything from taking a personal break to catch up on that Netflix or Disney Plus series you’ve been binge-watching to spending time with your children or simply sitting and drinking coffee. We recommend devoting at least 5-10 minutes before and after each call to prepare yourself and allow the information from the call to sink in.

Here are some of our recommended desktop applications for planning out your day:

  • Google Calendar 
    • A simple calendar software by Google that syncs up to all your different devices, allowing you to update your schedule in real-time 
  • Notion
    • Notion is a desktop application that includes features like notes, databases, kanban boards, wikis, calendars, and reminders – with a very aesthetic user interface
  • Todoist
    • It has a number of features that can help you organize your tasks or add color-coded labeling to them.

Move Around after each Virtual Meeting

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Standing up on your feet once in a while throughout the workday would help to circulate blood flow and clear your mind, whether it is to stretch your body after each call or to take a walk to your kitchen. A short walk may help you feel more energized and ready to continue working.

Refill your coffee, grab a snack, say hello to your loved ones, or listen to some tunes to give some positive vibes to your short walk. 

Turn on your Webcam only if you have to

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Keeping up with the anxiety of looking presentable every single time on a Zoom call is exhausting. The benefit of Zoom meetings is that we have the option to show ourselves or not. Even though there are times that you have to turn on your camera as proof of engagement, you should keep our camera off on some calls to avoid that Zoom anxiety. 

Furthermore, according to Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, keeping our reflection out of sight during virtual calls allows us to better focus on the person presenting or talking. 

Dress Up on some days

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Stimulating the getting-ready process of our regular days (once upon a time) may make us more motivated to start the day, especially with a long list of virtual calls underway. Looking presentable on the outside can make us motivated mentally as when you look good, you feel good. It also provides a feeling of normalcy, which we all need in these difficult times.

It doesn’t have to be a full-blown outfit, we’d suggest wearing a blouse or shirt and keeping the bottoms work-from-home friendly such as sweatpants, shorts, or leggings. (Shh, no one will know if the meeting’s on Zoom). Bonus: you won’t have to rush to impress if you set aside some time in the morning to get ready, good enough to last for the whole day. 

Always have a Meeting Agenda and Stick to it

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Using the Zoom meeting time limit as a gauge of any meeting is a great start (40 mins). Some meetings seem to go on forever and sticking to a clear agenda may go a long way toward keeping attendees productive and focused on the issue at hand. The meeting agenda should be sent out at least 10-15 minutes before it begins, to give all participants a gist of what’s to be discussed. 

In Essence,

Working from home is frequently associated with zoom fatigue. It can cause worry, lethargy, and sadness. It’s therefore incredibly crucial that you construct to decompress deliberately in time. You may also try to adjust your habit, which helps you to reach goals without becoming consumed.

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