When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in early 2020, public health measures made it necessary for many activities, both work-related and personal, to take place from home. This led to a twenty-fold increase in video meetings for the teleconferencing app, Zoom. Their meeting participants went from approximately 10 million daily in December 2019, to 200 million in March of 2020.
Virtual meetings thankfully allowed for many of us to continue working, but if you are one of the millions consistently hopping from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting, you’ve likely experienced the downside of this new development: “Zoom Fatigue”. So how do we combat this growing concern? Let’s dive in.
1. Recognize the signs of fatigue
In order to better recognize and assess this emerging issue, the Stanford Zoom Exhaustion and Fatigue (ZEF) scale was created. It includes such questions as:
How irritable do you feel after videoconferencing?
How often do you feel like doing nothing after video conferencing?
How irritated do your eyes feel after video conferencing?
How much do you need time by yourself after video conferencing?
How mentally drained do you feel after video conferencing?
Upon completion of the questionnaire, you are given a rating as to where you fall on the scale as well as which areas such as motivational, visual, social and emotional are being most affected. Consider completing the questionnaire HERE to gain a better understanding of how video conferencing is affecting you.
2. Work with your team
If you’re experiencing Zoom fatigue, you likely aren’t alone and many of your team members are in the same boat. Although videoconferencing has become somewhat of a necessity, research indicates that frequency, duration and “burstiness” (constant meetings without breaks) can impact our fatigue. Consider having an open dialogue with your team members about how this could be improved. Could smaller meetings be done by phone? Could multiple meetings be merged into one, or scheduled in such a way that participants have some time between to recoup? An honest conversation amongst your team could improve productivity and reduce fatigue for all.
3. Implement a digital detox
Between video conferencing, emails, communication apps like Slack, and time spent on our phones – our energy levels are being drained by our digital devices on multiple fronts. Try to combat this by taking conscious breaks from screens when possible. This may mean having a device-free zone in a space, such as your bedroom, where your phone and computer never go. Or it could mean choosing one day a week where you shut your screens down for 24 hours. Or it could mean selecting a timeframe, let’s say 6 PM to bedtime, that is screen-free. This will likely take time and patience to adapt to, but the benefits can be numerous.
Want more support?
If you found these tips helpful, we dig more into addressing Zoom fatigue and other ways to improve your wellbeing in our Boost your Productivity While Working From Home workshop. Connect with us for more information on booking this service for you and your team.