Did you know 2 trillion minutes were spent on Zoom in 2020 alone? More and more companies are working hard to create a virtual workplace culture for remote teams. Zoom fatigue is a new term that refers to the feeling of being tired, anxious, or burnt out from using video-conferencing platforms all day long. It is becoming much more common with the increase in employees working from home. So why do employees feel so tired after video-conferencing meetings? And it’s not just Zoom, it is all video meeting software's like Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime, and so on. There is a combination of things that cause this fatigue from video-conferencing but it all comes down to that video calls require more mental processing than face-to-face interactions.
Major Reasons for Video-Conferencing Fatigue:
1) Brains Must Process More
Our brains have a more difficult time processing non-verbal cues on camera than in person -- things as simple as tone and body language. And then on top of that everyone usually mutes their microphone when they are not talking to limit distractions for those that are talking but sometimes this results in the speaker feeling like there isn’t anyone there.
2) Always “On”
When we are meeting with people in person we don’t have a view of our own faces but when we are on video we can see our faces the entire time. When we see our face and surroundings the entire time it makes us feel like we always have to be “on” and in response to this feeling so we never just relax when we are interacting on camera.
When we meet in person it’s very obvious when we are looking at other things but when we are in video-conferencing meetings we may have other tabs open or be secretly looking at our phones. So now we are usually multitasking and not being completely focused when we are meeting with people.
4) Video-Conferencing is Always Available
In regular times it can be difficult to unplug from work at home but with video-conferencing it is even more difficult. We always think of work even if we are not working. We have no barriers or boundaries because everyone assumes that video calls are an always-on option.
How to Remain Engaged When Video-Conferencing
1) Teach Yourself To Read Faces
There are seven universal facial expressions Surprise, fear, disgust, contempt, anger, sadness, and happiness. Understanding simple things like the way a person’s eyebrows move, eyes, and mouth will give you a better understanding of people’s emotions when you can’t see full body language.
2) Abstain from Multitasking
It may be very tempting to have other tabs open, respond to emails, or scroll through social media while you are on a video call. Harvard did a study and they found that multitasking can cost you up to 40% of your productive time and lead to a lot of memory issues.
3) Get Ready
Get ready for work everyday and have different outfits for work life and home life so that your mind can differentiate. When you get dressed in your work clothes your brain will go into work mode. 4) Focus on the Positives
Leave out any negative news or media unless it is absolutely necessary and a part of the team agenda. Focus on the positive things happening in the world and leave the negative talk behind.
5) Get Up & Move
If you are sitting at a computer all day it is important to get up and move every hour or so. It is no different when you are in a video-conferencing meeting, if your meeting is going longer than an hour you should implement breaks so people can move around and stretch their legs. It is important that great communication starts with movement because movement gives you energy and energy makes you feel and feelings will create an impactful message worth remembering.
So let's communicate more with MOTION, EMOTION & IMPACT.
It may be difficult to start to get adjusted to these tips but try your best to take them on board to avoid burnout. We are all learning how to adjust to Working From Home (WFH) so let’s support each other and stay positive.