Zoom fatigue is real. It seemed novel in the beginning, but now with week after week of 8-10 hours a day 5 days a week it is exhausting. You are not able to have the usual eye to eye contact; the person speaking is looking into the camera while everyone else is looking lower at their video. There is eye strain from staring at the screen all day and sitting in one place all day wears you out. Back in the old days, 2-3 months ago, when you were in a meeting, you didn’t have to look at the speaker all the time, you walked from meeting to meeting, and you even did the unspeakable: had a phone conference call meeting. Crazy talk!
Check out these tips to counter Zoom fatigue:
- Build-in breaks between meetings. Even if it is only 30 seconds, build in time to get up, move around, close your eyes, get water.
- Hide Your Video. When we are at in-person meetings we do not see ourselves and we concentrate on the person speaking. During a zoom meeting, we suddenly see ourselves, like looking into a mirror, which can be distracting as we are checking ourselves out to see how we are looking. To help counter that, all you have to do to hide your video is right click on your video and select hide self-view. To unhide yourself, right click on any other user’s screen and click show self-view or go to the upper right of the zoom screen and click show self-view.
- Set zoom ground rules at the beginning of the meeting. I think we all have experienced how difficult it sometimes can be to have multiple people trying to speak and stepping on each other. This can lead to some participants deciding it is too difficult to speak and giving up. Instead, come up with how you want the meeting to run. It can be as simple as raising your hand to indicate you would like to speak next, or sitting up, leaning into the camera a little to indicate you have something to say.
- Do stretching exercises during meetings. There are several exercises you can do that will be off camera. One is, put one foot on top of the other thigh and do a gentle stretch. Then do the reverse. You can also do a gentle neck stretch without much notice from others. Nothing exaggerated, just a slight tilt of the head towards the shoulder, doing both sides. Figure out what works best for you and be careful not to hurt yourself or overdo it.
- Do phone/zoom audio meetings whenever possible. For some reason just because we are all working from home and having only Zoom meetings everyone thinks that we always must have video meetings. Instead, set-up Zoom audio-only meetings or go old fashion and do a phone call occasionally. Mix it up!
Self-care is critical now and moving forward. Institute what tips you can to help fight Zoom fatigue. It is important to be creative during these challenging times.
Please share what you do to counter Zoom fatigue in the comments below.
If you would like help figuring out how to re-think your daily life, work, department, or company, please reach out!