How to Overcome Zoom Fatigue

Topics: Small Business

Summary: Video conferencing platforms like Zoom have been our connection to friends, family and coworkers in the past year. But are video calls exhausting you? You are not alone. Learn ways to overcome “Zoom fatigue” and make your meetings more productive.

How to Overcome Zoom Fatigue

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers and their employees were doing their best to adjust to shutdown orders and working from home. Video conferences took the place of in-person meetings and were utilized to stay connected with coworkers. However, these video calls quickly led to a new level of employee burnout.

People used video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Teams, Messenger or FaceTime for everything from work meetings and online learning sessions to weddings and family gatherings. These platforms offered a great way to stay in touch with others during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they can be very exhausting for many reasons.

What are the Signs of Zoom Fatigue?

Stanford University researchers have discovered that video calls are tiring us out, leading to what is known as “Zoom fatigue.” The signs of Zoom fatigue can include:
  • Avoiding, canceling or rescheduling video calls
  • Feeling tense or tired at the end of your workday
  • Feeling tired between video meetings
  • Not paying attention during video calls
  • Anxiety for turning on your camera for a video conference
  • Eye-strain or irritation that was not pre-existing

Reasons for Zoom Fatigue

Why are people getting Zoom fatigue? Researchers have found many reasons, including:
  • Intensive eye contact: When you are in an in-person meeting, you have the opportunity to look away from others in the room or the speaker. However, in a video conference, your eye contact is on the speaker and everyone else on the call all the time. If you look away, it might seem like you are not paying attention. Plus, depending on the screen size, team member’s faces can appear larger than in real life, which can be very intense and unnatural.
  • Looking at ourselves is exhausting: Looking at yourself in the self-view square during video conferences is distracting, stressful and fatiguing.
  • Reduces mobility: In-person or phone conversations allow for more movement. Movement is more limited during video conferencing, as you need to stay in the same spot.
  • Higher concentration levels: Since most video conferencing is focused on the shoulders and above, we cannot interpret gestures and nonverbal cues as you would with an in-person conversation. Therefore, we have to think harder and fully focus on the speaker’s tone and what they are saying.
  • The feeling of being always “on:” With video conferences, you are expected to be always “on,” from the way you are dressed to having the best background.
  • Home-life interference: Working from home adds more interferences than working in an office setting, especially for working parents. Dogs barking, cats walking across the keyboards, or family members strolling into the room when you are on a video call are just a few examples. These incidents can be embarrassing and add to your stress levels.
  • Easily distracted: During meetings, we are tempted to multi-task by looking at email or checking messages. Video calls demand too much of our attention for effective multi-tasking and possibly lead to feelings of frustration.
  • Tech difficulties: From WiFi issues to frozen screens and software crashes, tech disruptions are always possible during a video conference. Also, technology delays can make people seem less friendly and lead to negative perceptions and fatigue.

Zoom Fatigue Solutions

Do you have Zoom fatigue?

Since working from home is here to stay for most of the world, video calls will continue to be part of our daily work routine. Taking the time to make a few slight adjustments to your daily and weekly video meeting routine will help lessen the stress caused by Zoom fatigue.
  • Change the settings: Adjust your Zoom or other video conference tool settings to take it out of the full-screen option and reduce the video window's size relative to your monitor size. Also, switch from gallery view to speaker view and hide the participants. In this view, you are only focused on the speaker, making it easier to focus on what is being said and not on what others on the call are doing.
  • Turn off self-view: Use the video conference platforms’ “hide self-view” button to turn off your own view. The rest of the video conference can still see you, but you can’t see yourself. This will reduce the anxiety of always looking at yourself.
  • Turn off the camera: Give yourself a break by periodically turning off your camera during long video meetings. This will allow some downtime from being nonverbally active and will enable you to focus on listening to the conversation.
  • Video meeting scheduling: Having video meetings all day, every day, can be exhausting. Create a schedule for your daily or weekly video meetings. Some people like to have all of their meetings in one day, while others want to have them split throughout the week. Blocking off time in your calendar for “no meetings” will help lessen your Zoom fatigue and increase your productivity.
  • Schedule breaks: Try to schedule mini-breaks between meetings, if possible, to give yourself a visual, mental and physical break. Getting up and walking around a bit to stretch after a meeting is also helpful to your mindset. One way to make sure you have a short break is to schedule 50-55 or 25-minute meetings.
  • Have an agenda: Ensure the meeting has a clear purpose and an agenda to keep everyone on track.
  • Avoid multi-tasking: Trying to do multiple things while also being on camera could end up being less productive than you think. Minimize other tabs and remove email or messaging notifications during video conferences to lower the temptation to answer them and help keep your focus on the video call.
  • Use your phone or email: Based on the type of conversation for your scheduled meeting, try to switch the discussion to the telephone, email or messaging instead of a video conference.
  • Make video optional: Having a video call isn’t necessary for every meeting. Allow people to turn off their videos if the meeting requires little to no participation.

AmTrust Supports Our Small Businesses Policyholders

AmTrust supports our small business policyholders, their employees and our appointed agents throughout the coronavirus crisis. We’ve created a library of coronavirus resources and reopening tips to help you stay informed. For more information about our small business insurance solutions, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

Time Zones