These days, while spending a majority of my time on video conference calls, the malady, “Zoom Fatigue,” comes up regularly. A year ago at this time, I can assure you, I had never heard the expression “Zoom Fatigue.” (Though, when I think of the things I’d never heard of at this time last year, COVID-19 and coronaviruses chief among them, the list is lengthy.) If you haven’t had a conversation about it, you may have read an article or blog about it, or experienced Zoom Fatigue without even realizing it – even if your preferred video conferencing platform is not Zoom, but rather, Webex, Teams, Skype or something else entirely. Bottomline: Zoom Fatigue as a topic of discussion is definitely trending!
“What is Zoom Fatigue,” you ask? As best I can tell, it is essentially the exhaustion we feel from having to be “always on” in a virtual video environment. Back when things were “normal” and we simply had to get ready for our days… the grooming, the driving to the next meeting, the meetings themselves… now we are certainly amping up the grooming, checking for lettuce in our teeth lest we notice it in the Brady Bunch square on our Zoom screens, there is no drive time thus no luxurious down time between meetings, and we are unable to process information the way we did before because we have to be fully present online all the time! Plus, we don’t get the benefit of the non-verbal cues we once had in the midst of discussions; we are faced with a variety of new distractions (e.g. “Mom! I need you!” and the dog demanding a walk in the middle of a meeting!); technology glitches can cause a whole host of anxiety (e.g. “Can you hear me?” and “Is my camera on?”); and there are no longer accidental “collisions” during which we fortuitously bump into colleagues and contacts to catch up in an impromptu manner. Let’s face it: It’s different… it’s tiring… it leads to Zoom Fatigue.
All that said, video conferencing capabilities during this time of isolation has been my mental savior. It’s been wonderful to connect with clients, friends, family, students, et al, through this medium. As such, I am keen on helping people to overcome their Zoom Fatigue to embrace the goodness of video conferencing.
With that in mind, here are my top three tips for managing Zoom Fatigue:
- Calendar Your Breaks. Just as you might have done pre-pandemic, schedule natural breaks between meetings. They don’t have to be very long – even five or ten minutes can help you to overcome the ill effects of continuous video meetings. During that time, take a bio break, reflect, meditate, fill your water bottle – do something other than staring at your screen, responding to emails, or anything related to technology. Just breathe!
- Move Around. Whether you go for a short walk, simply stand and stretch, or break out into a quick dance party for one, get moving! Sitting idly is a sure-fire way to bring on fatigue. By getting your blood pumping, you will give yourself that boost of energy needed to take on the next video call with flair!
- Use Another Meeting Medium. Despite my fan girl comments about loving Zoom, there are certainly other ways to meet – you could opt for a good ol’ phone call, meet in-person at an outdoor café for a socially distanced cup ‘o Joe, or, dare I say it, determine that a meeting is unnecessary and correspond by email instead!
How are you managing Zoom Fatigue? Please take a moment to share your tips, tricks and tools.