Ashira Prossack Contributor
Do you audibly sigh every time you have to log on to what feels like your thousandth Zoom meeting of the day? You’re not alone. While we’re all more or less used to video calls and meetings being the norm now, the newly coined effect of Zoom fatigue hasn’t gone away.
Since working from home is here to stay, video calls are here for the long run too. This makes it incredibly important to find a way to prevent Zoom fatigue from taking over your workday. Here are a few ways you can mitigate its effects.
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.
Set and follow an agenda.
Sometimes Zoom meetings can drag on much longer than they need to, and this can exacerbate feelings of Zoom fatigue. To keep meetings on track and on time, set and share an agenda with everyone on the call. That way everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them and what the meeting will cover, as well as how long it will be. Try to not exceed the scheduled time by firmly following the agenda and reigning in anyone who rambles and gets too far off track.
If you have control over your schedule, don’t pack it with back to back video meetings. Give yourself a break between Zoom calls to decompress. This isn’t just relevant for Zoom – it’s helpful to have at least ten minutes between meetings so you can wrap up one meeting fully before moving onto the next.
Pick up the phone.
Not all meetings require actual face time – sometimes a phone call is just as sufficient, if not more so. Phone calls can be taken from anywhere which allows for much more flexibility. You don’t have to get dressed up or put on makeup for a phone call, and with all the added stressors of working from home, that can be a really nice bonus.