How to Spare Yourself and Your Team from Zoom Fatigue

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Whether you use Zoom, MicrosoftTeams, Skype, BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, or any other video conferencing platform, on-camera fatigue is real  – especially if you find yourself in back-to-back meetings throughout the day. Some have mild symptoms like difficulty staying focused; others have acute issues like neck pain or migraines. 

Here’s how to spare yourself and your team members from total exhaustion: 

  1. Prioritize (and encourage) NOT multitasking. Invariably, some aspect of the meeting does not pertain to you, which makes it very tempting to toggle between tabs answering email, responding to messages, or making your grocery list. It may seem like you’re squeezing in productivity during the dead space of a meeting, but there are two liabilities. First, you’re likely not following the meeting as closely as you think you are, which may cause stress later when you need to refresh yourself on the details. Second, multitasking is actually mentally exhausting, and there may even be a detrimental effect on our cognitive ability. 
  2. Don’t hold a video meeting unless necessary. Try communicating with colleagues using well-crafted messages (sent by email or other group messaging platform) that clearly outline goals, challenges, ideal outcomes, and next steps for all stakeholders. As long as communication is crisp, a lot of time in front of the camera can be saved. 
  3. Explore ways to share a demonstration without a live meeting. Many in-person meetings are held in order to walk others through a process or show them how something works. Take a moment to brush up on other ways to share illustrative information, like creating screen recordings with or without voiceover. Giving team members an alternative to attending a time-dependent meeting and the ability to consume the content asynchronously when their mind is fresh can be far more effective. An added benefit is that the screen recording is always something they can refer back to. 
  4. Keep meetings as short as possible. Limiting meetings to 25 minutes whenever possible to build in natural breaks within a stacked schedule, and always stick to a prepared agenda where everyone can access the meeting’s action items. If you get through your agenda early and no one has questions, give people their time back. 
  5. Change up your video view. If seeing your own face on screen is distracting, hide your own image. You can also try using speaker view to more authentically mimic an in-person conversation.