2020 introduced us to many new things. From remote work, to plenty of party apps to stay in touch with your friends. As we heavily rely on technology to get as through those tough times, it can also has its obvious downsides.Lets talk about Zoom Fatigue..
With hours spent in front of screens; whether it’s for work, social life or just down time, we moved our lives almost completely online. And that can lead to so called ‘zoom fatigue’.
Close, but not quite close
Whereas at first it might have been quite thrilling to see your coworkers or friends via a screen, it is important to realize that it is a lot different than face to face communication. A lot of non-verbal cues like facial expressions, tone, or even pitch of the voice, are much harder to distinct than in real life. Few seconds of break during a normal conversation, would not be a problem, but unfortunately in an online setting, it can be a cause of anxiety. Did they hear us? Is my microphone on? Problems that were non-existent before, now might be quite taxing.
In real life we would never stare at a person’s face without breaking eye contact, something that is happening constantly while we are on a call. All of it leads to a more of an emotional effort on our side, which can be really draining.
Online meetings are almost unavoidable for most of us. So what can be done, so that the calls are not as tiresome?
Decline meetings or drop from them if you are not really needed. Help hosts identify correct stake holders, setup agenda’s to avoid wasting time by joining calls you are not really needed on.
If you wouldn’t do other tasks while in a normal meeting, treat an online one the same; avoid multitasking. If you constantly distract yourself, instead of focusing on the meeting, you split your attention, and that can lead to more exhaustion.
In real life, we rarely get to see our face while talking to other people. In an online meeting, it is absolutely normal, and we have not gotten used to that hyperawareness yet. Our eyes will unwillingly wander towards our own image, and watching ourselves can lead to more anxiety, as we focus more on our performative side. It can be easily avoided by minimizing the very window that we show up in.
Take a break
Whether you dedicate one full day to online meetings or set a day that will be meeting-less, it is important to set up some boundaries. And a lot of the times it is okay to say no. With the crazy year we had, we all deserve breaks.
Whereas we gotten used to having video calls all the time, it is important to note that phone calls and e-mails still exist, and a lot of the issues on hand, can be resolved with a quick chat over the phone, not necessarily a 30-minute online meeting. On the other side of the screen there’s also a human being, who might be as tired as we are. After all, we’re currently living in the same crazy world, so a little bit of kindness goes a long way. If you wouldrather do something over e-mail –just ask.
Zoom fatigue is definitely real. But that doesn’t mean we have to give in. Accept that times are different, take breaks, and most importantly – be kind to another. Because that is one thing there’s never enough of!
Leveraging Tool Settings
Take some time to become familiar with the settings of your web conferencing tool chain. At Vidlogs we recommend that you always setup a personal profile picture, when you turn off your camera, your screen can be replaced with a picture which is more personal than the monogram initials. This can help give you a much needed break if you need to multi task (sigh! , yes I did recommend we don’t do that but …) or give some attention to your furry friends while on a call!
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