Are too many virtual work meetings causing virtual insanity in your life? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Since the world shut down in response to the global pandemic, demand for video meetings has soared. Unfortunately, even though many of us are returning to the office at least part-time, this surge in video conferences doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Meetings that could’ve been an email are 10 times more likely to happen due to the ease and convenience of a virtual meeting, leading millions of virtual meeting go-ers to experience a new phenomenon known as Zoom Fatigue.
What is Zoom Fatigue? The informal diagnosis refers to a person’s exhaustion or burnout after attending a video conference or call. However, Zoom Fatigue is not a by-product of Zoom calls; this form of virtual fatigue is the aftermath of all cloud video conferencing software including Teams, Google Meet, Skype, and more.
Credico is the world’s leading face-to-face customer acquisition agency, connecting internationally recognized brands with high-quality, local-market outsourced sales teams that help clients acquire new customers via retail, events, door-to-door, and street market sales. With offices located in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and South Africa, we recognize our dependence on technology as a way to keep us connected and informed.
In this digital world we live in, the likelihood of virtual meetings ending is low, especially when you are part of a global organization with international clients and colleagues like Credico. It is virtually impossible to unplug and log off permanently.
And since some of these meetings really can’t just be summarized in an email, we’ve gathered a set of internationally-sourced tips for making our new virtual reality less of a burden, especially when folks are feeling “zoomed out.”
As a presenter, you want your meetings to be informative and the information presented to be memorable. Debbie Shaw, Director of Client Services for Credico UK, recommends that presenters make an effort to put together professional slides to make the topic stand out and be engaging.
Efficiency is also key. Encourage meeting attendees to stick to the subject and outcomes at hand so you can let everyone get back to work on schedule. Creating an agenda for every meeting can be a starting point for meeting notes while also helping everyone stay on-topic, reducing tangential conversations and side chatter.
Debbie goes on to suggest: “Limit Zoom calls to 30-45 minutes maximum to ensure the subject matter is addressed swiftly and on point.” Furthermore, consider whether a particular meeting could be a phone call or an email rather than calling everyone together for a virtual meeting.
Focus on Now
We all know that when you’ve planned ahead and are prepared, you can make the most efficient use of your time. Speaking of which, start your meetings on time! Time spent waiting for others to join takes that time away from those who were punctual. Establish a work culture that respects everyone’s time – latecomers can catch up after the meeting in a short conversation or by reading the meeting notes.
While you’re in a call, Debbie suggests that turning off self-view can be a good idea. It can be an off-putting distraction to watch yourself talk and present. And if you aren’t presenting, it’s okay to take a moment to turn off the camera and walk around – while still listening and speaking, of course.
“It’s important to not merely be ‘on’ the call, but ‘in’ the call,” says Theuns Bezuidenhout, General Manager for Credico South Africa. Whether your camera is on or off, “be an active participant in the discussion and listen intently so you can contribute.”
Debbie agrees, saying, “Avoid multitasking on a virtual call – your other work can wait!”
Be Aware of Self-Care
Try to plan your day to ensure you have adequate time to complete your daily work around all your meetings and calls, so as not to feel stress levels rising.
Especially between long Zoom calls, take a break to leave your desk and get some fresh air and recharge your mind. Take a short walk or open a window, anything to change the scenery a bit. Even when you’re not in meetings, remember to get up once in a while to avoid sitting for long periods of time in one place – taking short breaks away from your screen is also helpful for reducing eye strain!
“It’s healthy to step away from your screen, particularly if you have been on extended calls. Manage your screen time and look further than the screen a few inches in front of you,” says Theuns, “and avoid spending the remainder of your day looking at the small screen of your phone.”
Read the Room
“Try to set up your computer in a place that has as much natural light as possible to prevent eye strain,” says Debbie. “If this isn’t possible, then ensure you have good artificial lighting.” And since good lighting also makes you look better on-screen, this tip is a fantastic multi-tasker.
If your camera will be on, you’ll want to pay attention to the space around you – and not just so your colleagues don’t see your laundry basket! While you do want to be mindful that your background could be distracting to others on a call, you also want to avoid setting up for a meeting in places where you can be easily distracted. Where possible, try to create small, personal touches that will help you focus and concentrate on what is taking place on your screen.
That includes furniture! Rather than slumping on your couch, invest in a comfortable chair that aids back support. “If you’re going to spend prolonged periods of time on Zoom calls this can greatly reduce backache and fatigue,” says Theuns.
Finally, remember that nobody likes to be all work and no play. Step away from the screen and create an engaging “virtual commute” routine that can help reset your mind and ease the shift between work-mode and home. “Physical human interaction is so important,” Theuns reminds us. “Do not neglect your family and friends and after a long day on Zoom calls; spend quality time with them. Exercise, stretch, meditate, get some fresh air, eat sensibly and get enough sleep at night.”
Have we missed any of your top tips that help you manage your virtual world? Even as many companies return to offices, whether hybrid or full-time, these ideas can still help make the screen time we share as an international organization more fruitful. While we pride ourselves in having a high-energy and collaborative culture, Credico hopes to set a precedent in how we navigate work and life during these dynamic times while embracing the incredible possibilities technology affords us.