Combating “Zoom fatigue”

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Published June 23, 2020

The number of Zoom meetings we've all attended has grown in recent months. With most of us working remotely, virtual meetings are a convenient and effective way to stay productive and get things done.

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I want to share some tips from an article in Harvard Business Review on combating Zoom fatigue that I found helpful.

Avoid multitasking

As tempting as it is to try and accomplish more in a short amount of time, studies show that productivity drops as much as 40% when we try to multitask, and we retain less information.

Some urgent messages and tasks are unavoidable, of course. But by tackling tasks that aren’t urgent after your meetings, you may find you can get more done, with less stress.

Build in breaks

Back-to-back Zoom calls can feel like a marathon. But building in breaks where you look away from your screen, even for a few seconds, can reduce physical and mental fatigue. 

As a host, you may want to consider scheduling meetings for 25 or 50 minutes. Although travel time is no longer a consideration, this small break gives everyone a chance to catch their breath.

Limit onscreen distractions

Unlike face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings happen in as many different rooms as there are participants. That’s a lot of stimuli! Consider choosing a virtual background that’s less “busy,” like a solid color or a simple design.

As a host, allow people to turn off their video if they aren’t speaking. This limits the amount of background information we’re each broadcasting at once.

Also, consider hiding your own face. Research shows that we focus more on our own face when we’re onscreen, so hiding our own video may help us focus better and retain more information.

Switch out a meeting for a phone call or email, if possible

If you’re feeling fatigued, suggest that your last meeting of the day be switched to a phone call or email conversation, if possible. Occasionally switching to another channel might help keep away the fatigue, making all kinds of communication more effective in the long run.

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