The Covid-19 pandemic in the year 2020 undoubtedly introduced several changes in our daily lives. It made social distancing and the use of masks mandatory on a daily basis. It introduced remote working with success in the working environment. And most importantly, the pandemic highlighted our attention towards the use of latest technology to complete our office work while working from home. One such use of technology is that of video conferencing.
Yes, today video conferencing has become an integral part of our daily lives whether personal or professional. On the personal front, Covid-19 has restricted the movement outside house. So, most of us are catching up on our friends and relatives through this medium of video conferencing. On the professional front, the employers are finding it easy to connect with their employees remotely working across the world. But, have you ever thought about the fact as to why video conferences turn out to be physically and mentally exhausting! You must have realised that once a video conference finishes, you begin to feel immensely tired—you start rubbing your eyes or close your eyes for 2-3 minutes, go into a contemplative mode while sitting alone and so forth. These are all indications of your body that you need rest after the video conference.
Why is a video conference so draining? Or, what is Zoom Fatigue?
A video conference is largely draining because it involves very less use of verbal communication such as spoken words. Instead, the main mode of communication in a video conference is non-verbal (using your body language) such as a nodding of head, maintaining eye contact, staring at the screen (being attentive). Now, remember that all these actions are being performed by your brain simultaneously leading to immense fatigue. And this is what is termed as ‘Zoom Fatigue’. This term has become immensely popular in 2020. It basically refers to the mental exhaustion faced by you after conducting a video conference using any of the video conferencing tools and not just Zoom. Moreover, if you do not pay head to this Zoom fatigue, it can cause havoc on you physically, adversely impacting your professional and personal life.
Do not let Zoom fatigue take a toll on your overall performance. Let us explore some of the distinct ways of combating this Zoom fatigue.
1. Avoid multitasking: Multitasking has indeed become a vital requirement of the modern professional life. Having said so, you might have also tried your hand at several tasks along with video conferencing with your team members. You might think that you can save a lot of time by multitasking at the time of video conference. However, research has shown that multitasking leads to waste of 40 percent of your productivity. You are most likely to lose focus when doing multitasking on a video conference.
So, the next time you are on a video conference with your team members, ensure to close the tabs open on your laptop or computer and keep your phone aside. It is difficult indeed at first but gradually, you will develop this habit. This will help you not only in maintaining your focus but also will make the video conferencing less tiring both physically and mentally.
2. Get the team members engaged at the beginning itself: When you are on a video conference with several members with just one member speaking, it can certainly get monotonous. Staring at the camera for a long time is extremely exhaustive. This can be overcome in one way. When the video conference begins every member should be asked to give a brief introduction about what he/she is doing at present (both at the work front and at home). In this manner, interaction with all the team members will keep the brain active and bring less amount of Zoom fatigue.
3. Take breaks in-between: One significant way of reducing Zoom fatigue is that of taking breaks in between the video conference. You need to turn your eyes here and there, or minimize the video window, or perhaps just close your eyes and listen to what your team members are discussing. Believe me, even your team members must have gone through Zoom fatigue and hence will not discourage you from taking small breaks. It is a simple yet effective way to give your mind and body rest so that you are able to focus on your hour-long video conference.
4. Opt for other medium of communication wherever possible: Having experienced Zoom fatigue, you would definitely look for ways in which you can interact with your team members. Wherever possible, try using chats or emails to communicate and collaborate with the members of your team. This is one way of avoiding video conference when not mandatory. You should learn to leverage technology to your advantage having experienced its adverse impact!
4. Turn off your video: Now this method is easier said than done. When you have been conducting video conference on a daily basis with your team members in a week, you are likely to experience the Zoom fatigue. Or perhaps, if you are generally on an hour-long video conference then also you are likely to feel exhausted. In such a scenario, one easy way out is to turn off your video and just listen attentively to the audio. However, your team members also need to be supportive in this act. Also, you can try experimenting with an audio meeting only and see if it turns out well.
Therefore, to conclude, try and adopt these measures and analyse has your Zoom fatigue reduced or not. Initially, it will be difficult but with the passage of time you will slowly master the art of reducing the pain and exhaustion caused from video conferencing. After all, Change is the law of nature! And man has been adapting to change more than ever in the year 2020.