If you are anything like most teams around the world right now, you are relying heavily on online meeting platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams (more info on online meeting platforms can be found here) to communicate with your team and keep everyone feeling connected – even though we aren’t necessarily in the same office, state or continent! BUT as amazing as these online tools are to us, they can be somewhat, well draining, leaving many feeling more exhausted after a big day of meetings, even though we haven’t left our office. This plus the added stresses of broken audio, freezing faces and the reminder of the loss of normality all lead to what is now known as Zoom fatigue. But with so many teams relying on online means to connect, we wanted to take a closer look at that phenomenon that is Zoom fatigue and provide you with some easy tips to avoid it.
1. Falling into the Multitasking Trap
When we meet through online means, such as Zoom, it can be easy to get distracted with the constant ping of new emails coming through, reminders popping up in the background and if your working from home, the world around us (hello kids, pets or partners!). Because we aren’t physically in a meeting, it can be easy to slip into the habit of getting other tasks done while in your meeting. We recommend that you DO NOT DO THIS. When you switch between different tasks, accessing different parts of your brain you can lose up to 40 percent of your productive time and let’s be honest, nobody wants that.
- Close all unnecessary browser tabs and applications (yes, even your emails) so that nothing can pop up during your meeting to distract you.
- Set yourself up in a quite location to take your zoom meeting, where you won’t be disturbed or distracted by the world around you.
- Go old school and take notes with a pen and paper to re-type later if you need to. The only thing your computer should be currently being used for is the meeting platform itself.
2. Mirror, Mirror on the Zoom Wall…
Do you find yourself sitting in a zoom meeting and suddenly realize you have been staring at your own face… the ENTIRE time? Don’t worry, you aren’t incredibly vain, but rather just more aware of your own facial expressions in these situations. There is a heightened emphasis on facial cues during zoom meetings compared to traditional face to face meetings because conversational cues such as nodding are delayed or sometimes frozen due to bad internet connections, which sees us concentrating quite hard on what our faces are doing. This is quite emotionally draining which is why we feel so tired after looking at ourselves all day.
- If you are planning on being in zoom meetings for an extended period of time, make sure you schedule yourself in mini breaks between meetings or turn your video off every now and again allowing your eyes to rest.
- Hide yourself from view, by turning off your camera so that you can more clearly focus on the person speaking.
- Could this meeting be an email or a normal phone call? If it isn’t vital that you see each other’s faces, consider dropping the video component altogether.
3. New Social Etiquette
We have all been in a zoom meeting where we start to question whether we or the people we are meeting with are actually listening… or just frozen (if you haven’t experienced this, I want your internet connection!). Due to connection speeds and other lovely technology issues that just seem to come with the territory, we lose the way we would usually initiate turn-taking cues. Suddenly by nodding your head, or saying “yeah” as we usually would in a face to face meeting to show we are taking interest in what the other person is saying, this now breaks up the communication and makes for a very disjointed conversation.
- Take turns – nominate a host for the meeting and get them to determine the speaking order, allowing for each person to say their piece before allowing time for others to ask questions or add anything to the topic.
- Try turning off your video, this may help increase your connection speed allowing for the conversation to be clearer.
- Keep all members of the meeting muted unless they are actually speaking to avoid any audio disruptions.
Online meeting platforms such as Zoom are an amazing tool that allows us to connect with our team and clients when face-to-face meetings may not be possible. But as I am sure you all know it can be surprisingly exhausting. By following the above tips and tweaking how you think about and attend Zoom meetings, you will find you will get more enjoyment out of Zoom in no time.