…or why do we get so exhausted after zoom meetings?
The coronavirus epidemic and worldwide isolation have transformed the way we used to live. Even our language underwent some changes. Let's talk about one of them, that has become a new social phenomenon.
People around the world have experienced drastic changes in their lifestyles. Almost all our social and business connections and meetings have moved online, but not everyone has adapted easily to these changes. People who used to work remotely, barely felt the impact of the global pandemic. However, since everyone is starting to operate online, even us, who are no newbies in the field of remote work, felt overwhelmed with the entire situation. A new neologism was spawned by all the events and Zoom Fatigue became a buzzword. We give you a quick overview of this phenomenon and discuss what it is, why it happens and how to cope with it.
What is Zoom Fatigue?
Since the pandemic outbreak, the amount of hours I spend online has broken every record: infinite online meetings, private and group calls in 3 different languages sometimes in the same call, webinars and not to forget the time for the research and actual writing process. The processes of brainstorming and admin things - all these aspects were taken online to 100%.
I imagine if I felt overwhelmed, the majority of companies, team leaders and CEOs felt the same (unless you work for Facebook, Twitter, Google or Amazon). I guess it is normal, that suddenly I felt tired from communicating online. Zoom as collaboration tool was already well-known, but while the global isolation, it practically became the leader within collaborative solutions. So how can an online-tool make us tired?
According to Urban Dictionary (that is by the way a valuable source nowadays), Zoom fatigue is:
“Sore buttocks and slight throbbing of head from staring at everyone in their pajamas while participating in meeting after meeting in your dining room due to social distancing due to COVID-19.”
Practically, it is a fatigue caused by constant Zoom utilization.
Why does this condition arise?
1. It's tempting to do everything else, as long as you don’t need to participate in the conversation. Checking your mail, flipping through memes, creating a nice Instagram post – no matter what we will always have something to do.
2. Eye contact all day long
During a one-on-one conversation with someone in real life, we never look the person in the face for a long period of time. It barely happens, almost never. During a Zoom meeting or call with the video function on, we are forced to stare at the face of the other person. Not to mention the constant worry of the background image and picture quality. All these aspects overload the brain and make it tired.
3. Technical issues
Especially when you're just starting the call, there are always some technical challenges you need to overcome: the noise in the background, poor sound quality or poor internet connection can be fatal, when discussing serious questions.
4. Work-life balance
The minute we leave a zoom conference with our colleagues, we enter straight the next conference, but this time with friends or family. The whole day is spent staring at the screen with the laptop on your lab. No wonder we can't sleep after all.
How to deal with fatigue after zoom conferences?
Avoid multitasking. It's tempting to check your mail or scroll through Instagram while your colleagues discuss things that aren't relevant to you. This habit leads to a decrease in your performance, because scientifically it is proven that multi-tasking makes your brain tired.
Take breaks. During a long video call, your eyes get tired. Turn off the camera for a few minutes and take your eyes off the screen. If the call takes more than an hour, you can turn off the webcam, close your eyes and just listen.
Reduce the details on the screens. When you have a conversation with five people in a group, each one of you focuses not only on facial expressions, but also on the background. Make arrangements and use unobtrusive, monochrome backgrounds for less fatigue.
Switch to phone calls, Slack and email. If you can move the discussion from video format to voice format, do it!
Call in your voice to those you don't know well. Now zoom is used by default for conversations, even if previously the conversation was only voice. Optionally, talk to all the meeting participants in advance about the call form: voice or video.
Clearly Zoom fatigue can apply to every other form of video communication: Skype, Google Hangouts or AnyMeeting. The crucial idea is to remain a bit of offline life and enjoy it to the fullest.