It’s not your imagination and it’s not just you.
Zoom exhaustion is real.
Back-to-back virtual meetings at home … online birthday family gatherings … Zoom college reunions. Whether it’s work, school or social, too many virtual interactions can zap the life out of us adults (and kids).
Why do virtual meetings drain our energy?
- We have to concentrate harder to absorb information. There’s no one sitting next to us in a meeting to quietly ask, “what did she just say?” It’s also more challenging to focus and process non-verbal cues on the screen.
- To show others we’re paying attention, we stare into a camera for long stretches. Processing information this way is tiring for our brains.
- The added pressure seeing ourselves on screen is stressful for many of us.
- At home, we must wrestle with more distractions (animals, kids, partners, doorbells) interrupting us.
The good news is you and your team don’t have to sit blurry-eyed in front screens all day. There are a number of ways to reduce virtual meeting fatigue.
6 Virtual Meeting Energy Boosters
- Simplify your screen layout. Viewing all participant thumbnails (i.e. gallery view in Zoom) is a lot of stimuli for your brain to process at once. Simplify your screen by hiding non-video participants or pinning the person talking in full screen mode so you only see the speaker.
- Hide your face from your screen. In Zoom, you can also set up your screen to avoid looking at yourself. This reduces stress about what you look like and adds a little more space on your screen to view others.
- Give your eyes a break. Periodically move your eyes away from the screen. Doodle on a piece of paper. Stretch your head and eyes up, down, left, right. Stand up. Walk around the room.
- Schedule shorter meetings and allow for transition time. Experiment with 25 or 50 minute meetings to give yourself and others a cushion of time between meetings.
- Facilitate like a pro. Assign meeting roles and agenda topics to multiple people. Encourage participation through polls, chats and direct questions to individuals.
- Infuse some fun. Experiment with virtual energy-boosters and check-ins and notice how the tone and energy of the entire meeting shifts. We love to laugh at PeopleResults and our “Crazy Hat Day” was a big hit. We recently added “Storytime with Charlotte” at the end of our meetings. This sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious update is a topic everyone looks forward to.
How do you fight off Zoom fatigue? What would you add to this list?
Marta Steele is a Partner at PeopleResults and can be followed on Twitter @MartaSteele.