Whether they take place over Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or any of the other video conferencing platforms out there, video calls make remote meetings and conferences possible. They can also be more draining, physically and emotionally, than in-person meetings. As more and more people shifted to remote work as a result of the pandemic, there was a notable rise in a phenomenon known as "Zoom fatigue." If you’re feeling burned out after days of seemingly endless video meetings, there are things you can do to minimize video call fatigue and burnout.
Focus on the Call
One of the reasons you’re likely to feel more tired after a video call compared to a standard phone call or face-to-face meeting is that looking at others through a screen requires energy and focus from you. Your brain is working harder than usual to interpret and decode people’s tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions.
Trying to do more than one thing at once during a video meeting is going to further zap your energy. Being in front of your computer, you might try to respond to emails or put the finishing touches on a presentation. Multi-tasking on a video call is more likely to make you less productive than if you were to wait to perform additional tasks. You’re also likely to feel more exhausted and less focused on the call.
To get the most from your video meetings, maximize the video conferencing window and let other to-do items wait until the call is over.
Minimize Video and Distractions
Another reason why video meetings tend to make you feel more drained at the end of the day is that there is a lot to look at during the calls. If you have your video on, you might find yourself staring at your image, worrying about every imperfection on your face. If your colleagues have a lot going on in the background of their videos, you might get distracted by what’s happening in their squares.
You have a few options for minimizing distractions and stimuli when you’re on a call. You can turn your video off or hide self-view, so you can’t see your own image. You can also set up the call so that people turn off their cameras when they aren’t speaking. If too much going on in the background is a problem, ask people to choose plain backgrounds, such as sitting in front of a bare wall or uploading a solid-colored backdrop to use.
Back-to-back in-person meetings can leave you feeling exhausted. The same is true for back-to-back video meetings. Even though it might seem convenient to power through your workday and get the meetings over with, you’ll feel better and can focus better if you add a buffer between each one.
During the breaks, it’s important to step away from your computer screen. Use the downtime as an excuse to take a short walk. Even walking to your kitchen from your home office and back should be enough to give you enough of a break between your meetings.
To facilitate breaks, schedule meetings so that they don’t take up a full hour or a full 30 minutes. A 50-minute meeting will give people a 10-minute time cushion to get some fresh air, a cup of coffee, or a snack.
Use Other Communication Methods
Video calls can replicate that in-person meeting experience somewhat, but they aren’t always the most appropriate option. There are other communication methods available and some of them might be a better pick, depending on the circumstances. If you’re only meeting with one other person, a phone call is likely going to be fine. Phone calls can be particularly appropriate if you’re meeting with someone for the first time or if you’re communicating with a vendor.
Just as you don’t always need an in-person meeting to communicate ideas or share news, you also don’t always need a video meeting. It might be the case that the information you need to share can be easily distributed to your team over email or using a chat program such as Slack.
Remote work and video conferencing programs might have helped your company continue to thrive and grow during the pandemic. But if you and your team are feeling burnt out after long days of video meetings, they might be doing more harm than good. The virtual CFOs at New Direction Capital can help you navigate the post-pandemic business world, putting together a plan to help your business achieve sustainable, profitable growth. Contact us today to learn more.