A few months ago, many people never knew they would be living on the internet as much as now (I already do). But here we are, reverting all energy of ours and our businesses into the online space.
With this, Zoom, Google Meet and the likes have become the default way we assess and communicate with one another; a result of the coronavirus pandemic that is holding us at home.
In fact, we are adapting so fast that we are finding new ways to enjoy the times. For instance, some have turned to Zoom games and parties as a way to interact with friends. In fact, an event planner-friend of mine recently executed a zoom wedding 😄. You can check it right here. It was amazing! And lest I forget, my digital skills trainer also had a Zoom naming ceremony for his new born!
However, the truth is that someone like me is already starting to feel burned out. Although I have always done video calls but never as much as what I am doing now. From my research, I now know that I am not the only one feeling this way and that this feeling is now being referred to as Zoom fatigue. Isn’t this interesting? (lol).
What does it feels like?
Zoom fatigue is simply mental exhaustion that comes from along or after online video calls. Although we rely on it to connect with people and imitate normal life during lock-down, yet it can leave us feeling tired and empty.
Dr Suzanne Degges-White explains it on Psychology Today. According to the psychologist, we are likely to feel a kind of exhaustion from screen time that’s different from that of spending time at a gym.
Researchers explain it to be a result of several factors. One of these is that video conferencing makes our brains to work harder. This is because of the absence of cues that makes real-life conversations. Hence, this task our brains to work harder in order to make sense of the current happening.
Another reason they say is because of the numerous calls we attend to in a day. So, between those catch-ups of formal and informal meetings, it feels like we are always on camera. This then brings about a cognitive overload to the brain. And more particularly from, a strain of reading people through a grid of their faces that seems so close together!
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For some, zoom fatigue occurs because of the constant need to maintain formal appearance on the screen at all times, while also ensuring that unnecessary elements do not occur, throughout each meeting.
So in simpler terms, Zoom burnout is basically caused by three issues. One is the increasing number of video calls we attend to, the other is the amount of time we spend using it.
To this end, it becomes important that we find a way out to deal with the exhaustion that comes from video calls.
So, how do you deal with zoom fatigue?
- Turn off the camera until when necessary: Since the stay-at-home began, it has become an expectation that webcams be turned on during meetings. But sincerely, looking at other people’s faces and knowing that someone is looking at you is kind of tiring. No doubt, it is even enough to burn somebody out. So, if that meeting does not require your face, why don’t you zoom off your camera? 🤷
- Use the asynchronous form of communication: Although video chat apps help us feel connected, the truth is that is mentally exhausting and unproductive. One of the best alternatives is to switch to asynchronous communication. The simple and easiest solution for a purposeful communication culture is email or work apps like Slack.
- Set communication schedules and expectations early: Let everyone who needs to know about your communication schedule. Set your communication hours and make this known to all who need to know. The only way to enjoy a do-not-disturb mode is if everyone understands how to properly communicate. Else, you’ll come out of a focused mode session to persistent messages of things that need to get done immediately.
The truth, however, is that there is hardly anything that can’t wait or haven’t this pandemic taught us that?