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Zoom Fatigue is real, so let’s deal with it.

If you are dreading your next work video call, you may be suffering from Zoom fatigue. When Zoom fatigue creeps into a virtual team meeting, it can quickly cause productivity and camaraderie issues for that team and its leaders.
But what exactly is Zoom fatigue, how can you identify it, and what can be done to overcome it? Read on to find out answers to these questions and more.

What is Zoom fatigue?

Simply speaking, Zoom fatigue refers to the feeling of exhaustion or mental drain caused by excessive use of video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet. 
A recent Stanford study into Zoom fatigue identified four causes for this feeling, including:

  1. Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense.
  2. Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing.
  3. Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility.
  4. The cognitive load is much higher in video chats.

How to identify Zoom Fatigue?

There are some tell-tale signs that you or your team may be suffering from Zoom fatigue. Some of them are as simple as you or your team members regularly cancelling or rescheduling virtual meetings, or refusing to turn your video on during a video conference call.
Other signs can be more difficult to recognize, especially for team managers to recognize it in their team (as opposed to identifying it in yourself). Healthline recently listed symptoms of Zoom fatigue to include:

  • forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty maintaining relationships and being present with loved ones
  • frustration and irritability with co-workers
  • physical symptoms, like muscle tension, pain, fatigue, and insomnia

With Covid-19 causing workplaces to go remote, and with 74% of employees (Source: Growmotely) stating that they want to keep working remotely at least part of the time forever more, Zoom fatigue is something that cannot be just ignored. However, there are ways to overcome this feeling of exhaustion.‍

How to overcome Zoom fatigue?

The first step is identifying it, which if you have read this far down then you’ve already done that. So that’s a great start, well done! Beyond that, there are some simple measures to take or activities to employ to help you and your team avoid or overcome zoom fatigue.

1) Discuss it with your team!

A key step is to actually discuss the concept of Zoom fatigue with your colleagues. Check in with them on a regular basis to see if they are feeling exhausted and open a dialogue to see if there are changes that can be made to your routine to help avoid it.

2) Make meetings fun!

Zoom meetings aren’t going away anytime soon, but they don’t have to be overly serious all the time. Bring a sense of fun, entertainment of enlightenment into the meeting to create a shared experience that your team can bond over. Unique experiences that have nothing to do with the day-to-day activities of your workplace can provide mental relief and in turn energize the team.
To do this, Spark’n allows teams tp explore blackholes, learn about the wonders of sharks, dive into the counter-cultural world of Brooklyn Street art, and more, in just 15 minutes. These short breaks delivered regularly or sporadically into virtual meetings are having a positive impact in the battle against Zoom fatigue already!

3) Reduce onscreen stimuli

Whilst Twitter accounts have been dedicated to the best Zoom backgrounds of famous people on TV, a recent Harvard Business Review article actually suggests that less is more when it comes to Zoom backgrounds (for the sake of our fatigue levels). As noted, a plainer background means that our eyes and brains don’t have to process all the extra visual environmental cues, which lessens the strain and helps prevent fatigue.

4) Shrink meeting times

Consider whether a full hour meeting is really necessary for your video call, or whether a shorter 30-minute version will do. There are many tools available for you to use to ensure your meetings are run efficiently and effectively so that you can shrink the meeting size. Tools like Hugo, Butter or Yac all help team meetings become more organized, fun and engaging. We took a look at them further in our article on 5 amazing products you need to try with your virtual team!

5) Eliminate unnecessary meetings

It may seem counter-intuitive for a meetings-dependent service like Spark'n to recommend that you eliminate meetings, but let's be honest, you don't need as many in your schedule as you currently have. As Calm suggests in a recent article on Zoom fatigue, reducing 'meeting clutter' in your diary can help negate Zoom fatigue, but it comes with a caveat. If you eliminate some, then the meetings that remain have to be better. Make them fun, efficient and worthwhile all at the same time (by using the tools above), and then your team won't dread joining them.

So, now you know what Zoom fatigue is, and how it impacts your team, what are you going to do about it? If the answer is “I don’t know” then let’s chat about how Spark’n can help end Zoom fatigue for your team today.

A Spark is the cost of a coffee for your team.

Spark'n up your team meeting for the price of a coffee run.

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Will join you via Zoom for a relaxed conversation. 👍