Whether you hate them, love them, or are somewhere in between, Zoom and other remote meetings aren’t going away soon. But a lot of remote workers report they are suffering from Zoom fatigue. If you or your employees are complaining about or showing signs of weariness caused by the constant remote meetings, we have some tips to help stop burnout.
First, why do Zoom meetings leave us so weary? According to the Harvard Business Review, “In part, it’s because they force us to focus more intently on conversations in order to absorb information. Think of it this way: when you’re sitting in a conference room, you can rely on whispered side exchanges to catch you up if you get distracted or answer quick, clarifying questions. During a video call, however, it’s impossible to do this unless you use the private chat feature or awkwardly try to find a moment to unmute and ask a colleague to repeat themselves.” The way we process information over video is another factor. “On a video call the only way to show we’re paying attention is to look at the camera. But, in real life, how often do you stand within three feet of a colleague and stare at their face? Probably never. This is because having to engage in a “constant gaze” makes us uncomfortable — and tired”.
There are ways to lessen Zoom fatigue. Forbes contributor Ashira Prossack wrote about Zoom fatigue. She suggests three changes with how video is used that can reduce fatigue:
- Consider making meetings video optional whenever possible – Depending on the type of meeting, it’s not always necessary to have people’s videos on the whole time. Meetings where participation is expected should keep video on, but if it’s a training session or something else where people are passively watching rather than actively participating, consider allowing people to turn off their video.
It’s tempting to want everyone’s video on to make sure they’re paying attention, but the truth is that having video on doesn’t actually equal focus. Requiring video on means people can’t be scrolling through social media on their phones, but it doesn’t prevent them from doing the same thing on their computer. It’s a falsehood that requiring video truly improves engagement – people will always find a way to multitask if they want to.
- Hide your own video from yourself – When you’re speaking with someone face to face, you’re only seeing their face, not yours. On a video call, you’re seeing yourself too, which is rather unnatural. That also means that you’re more likely to pay attention to your facial expressions, what you’re wearing, or your general appearance rather than just focusing on the conversation. Not only does this detract from the conversation itself, but it can also make you feel rather self-conscious. Zoom has a feature aptly named ‘hide myself’ that allows other participants to see your video, but you aren’t seeing it yourself.
- Switch up the screen view – It can be quite distracting to be looking at a screen full of faces. It’s also easy to get distracted by someone else’s screen trying to peek at their background or see why they’re moving around. To prevent this, switch from gallery view to speaker view and hide participants. This way, the screen only shows one person’s video at a time making it easier to focus and reduce the temptation to see what everyone else on the call is doing.
Next week we’ll have three more tips to help you and your employees beat Zoom fatigue. Our workers at VersaTel Solutions are experts at working remotely. All of our bookkeepers, assistants, and Process Management professionals work remotely. Reach out to us if you need seasoned remote workers.