How to Help Your Team Tackle Remote Meeting Fatigue
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Imagine the relief when you finish that last, hour-long Zoom call of the day.
Stretching your arms, you suddenly feel the exhaustion.
It’s weird considering that you’re just facing your laptop or mobile phones, listening and collaborating with your team in your PJs.
But what you’re experiencing is no different from what millions of other workers in the gig economy or the virtual workforce are also feeling.
There’s a name for this: Zoom fatigue.
Unfortunately, no one is immune to this condition.
With the introduction of virtual tools to help with telecommuting, fatigue from online meetings is something that most virtual workers currently face, along with the crisis the pandemic has brought on.
Zoom Fatigue: What Exactly Is It?
Zoom is a web-based video-conferencing application that has been catapulted to the highest ranks during the pandemic. As of this year, it has 12.92 million monthly active users.
And while regular meetings are necessary for a remote work environment, it can become stressful. In some cases, it can even lead to fatigue.
Also called Zoom burnout, Zoom fatigue is the taxing feeling that you get after attending too many video calls.
Well, it’s been proven that technology and the radiation from your electronic devices are overtaxing the brain. In addition, experts say that our brains need to work harder during video calls in order to read people.
For one, it’s harder to process most of the non-verbal cues that we usually rely on in-person, such as body language and tone. Also, a slight delay can make it seem like participants are less friendly and result in negative perceptions.
Technical disruptions and errors—device lags, frozen screens, spotty Wi-Fi connection—can also increase stress.
In general, people suffering from Zoom fatigue feel stressed and anxious before a video call, reporting feelings of exhaustion, tiredness, and even feelings of despair after a Zoom meeting. Some people even say that Zoom calls feel like they’re always giving the presentation, and therefore, encountering an increased amount of anxiety and stress.
Zoom fatigue can be sneaky. It can be triggered in people who spend a lot of time on virtual meetings, trying to compensate for that loss of face-to-face interaction.
However, do not let this issue discourage you and your team from the awesomeness of your virtual career. Zoom fatigue can be avoided or, at least, keep the negative effects to a minimum with the right strategies.
5 Tips for Tackling Zoom Fatigue
When you chair a remote team meeting, there are tips and tricks that will ensure a smooth flow and a productive outcome. Don’t stop at tackling the issues at hand, however. Make an effort to address the issue of meeting fatigue as well.
1. Bring It To Light
Studies revealed that psychological safety, which is a sense of trust and mutual respect, is a critical element for high-performing teams. You can leverage the shared experience to build and connect a greater sense of psychological safety on your team.
Rather than pretending the Zoom fatigue does not exist, give your team members the opportunity to talk about it, feel it, and even laugh about it together.
You can share what you are experiencing and invite your team to do the same in a way that creates positive binds while also maintaining professionalism.
Some of the few questions that can kick off the conversation in a light way are:
- Who’s feeling the Zoom fatigue today?
- How are you dealing with it?
- Is there any advice you can share with the team to fight it off?
- What can we do more as a team to make our virtual meetings better and more efficient for all of us?
Phrasing these questions in solution-centered ways can help team members openly discuss Zoom fatigue while also maintaining an appropriate and positive tone.
In addition, if there’s anyone who expresses high levels of stress around this topic, don’t forget to follow up with them individually after the meeting.
2. Create and Follow an Itinerary
We all have that one colleague who loves to talk at length about something that’s off-topic.
Someone who asks how everyone is doing in a Zoom meeting and then, suddenly, 42 minutes have passed by and you still don’t hear any discussion of the true topic at hand.
While everyone might love to hear all about each other’s life during quarantine, too much nonsensical chatter can cause Zoom meetings to go longer than planned. This is when Zoom fatigue thrives.
But, as humans, we have the tendency to go off-topic which makes meetings more likely to go over the scheduled end time. So, how do you prevent the optimistic oversharing?
Create a plan.
In order to prevent meetings from stopping you to take a breather and make another cup of coffee, you need to make an itinerary ahead of time.
Schedule the minutes and other talking points. This way, your Zoom meetings will run more smoothly, limiting everyone’s virtual time and prevent Zoom fatigue.
3. Change the Scenery
After being quarantined for months on end, your home seems more familiar and boring than ever. However, a change of scenery can help you and your team feel refreshed.
Move to that sunny spot by the window. Not only will you feel the warmth of the sun, but it is also great for your team who’s watching. Encourage your team to stand and move to their balcony where they can feel the fresh breeze.
If a colleague seems to be working in a low-light room, suggest that they move to a better lit space. This is because the low light can further exacerbate Zoom fatigue. Better lighting, preferably natural light, helps keep you feel more focused and awake.
By changing the usual setup, you can help beat Zoom fatigue by giving a fresher, home-office feeling.
4. Have A Break
As virtual work continues, most people within the workforce are starting to notice the blurry lines between home and work since they now fit in the same space.
Zoom fatigue can actually worsen this effect as every work-related interaction is now easily accessible and virtual. Between those large department meetings and quick calls to colleagues, a daily meeting schedule quickly begins to overflow with Zoom appointments.
It can be appealing to schedule Zoom meetings after another just to get through the day sooner. However, it also triggers the early onset of Zoom fatigue.
To fight this, set several breaks during the day. Give your team enough time to rest their tired eyes and recharge before the next Zoom appointment. You can take that time to do some extra planning so that the next meetings will be as smooth as the last one.
You can also plan a virtual team building activity as a form of a break from the usual business-centered meeting. With the right timing, it can help your team to reset and rejuvenate.
Outback Team Building and Training offers a ton of great virtual team building activities you’ll love, including:
- Virtual Clue Murder Mystery: In one of our most popular app-based team building activities, groups connect virtually using the video communications platform, like Zoom, and the proprietary Outback app. From there, coworkers break out into teams to solve who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit a deadly crime.
- Virtual Code Break: In Team Pursuit, your team will need to get their energy levels up in order to tackle a series of mental, physical, skill, and mystery challenges, earning points for each successfully completed challenge.
- Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist: Escape rooms might not be the first things that come to mind when you think about Zoom games to play with your colleagues. But they can be a whole ton of fun! With Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist, you and your team will need to retrieve a bounty of stolen jewels by uncovering hidden clues and solving a series of brain-boggling challenges. You’ll need to exercise collaboration, creative problem-solving, and outside-the-box thinking to track them down. But you’ll have to be quick! The clock is ticking before the stolen score is gone forever.
- Virtual Game Show Extravaganza : In this virtual activity, teams will work collaboratively to answer trivia questions with topics ranging from pop culture to sports, world history, and beyond. Teams will earn points for each correct answer. Whichever team has the most points when time runs out will be named the winner!
- Virtual Trivia Championship: Does your team have what it takes to win the Virtual Trivia Championship? In this virtual trivia team building activity, your colleagues will break into teams and turn the competition level up to ten as you challenge your wits, test your knowledge, and work your way through a list of trivia questions ranging from cities to movies, songs, objects, and even a round of Jeopardy-style challenges. To climb to the top of the leaderboard, you’ll need to earn points for each trivia question your team answers correctly. Between each high-energy trivia round, all teams will regroup to discuss notable submissions and engage in a spirited discussion about the answers. Interested in more trivia ideas? Check out our article featuring the best virtual trivia games for work.
- Virtual Happy Hour Trivia: This is no ordinary happy hour trivia game. In this activity, you and your team will take a trip to Hamish McDuff’s virtual pub. This hilarious Scottish pub owner is the legendary host of a trivia game with more than 20 category options to choose from, including sports, food and drink, and even celebrity real estate. This virtual pub trivia game is guaranteed to produce plenty of laughs and lift team “spirits.” It might even include a few special surprises. If you want more inspiration for your next saucy workplace social, check out our article on the best virtual happy hour games for colleagues.
If you’re looking for even more ideas, we wrote an article covering the best free and paid Zoom games to play with your colleagues.
To learn more, get in touch today.
5. Try A Different Channel
In today’s modern era, we are spoiled for choice in terms of the numerous channels we can use to communicate and hold meetings.
So, why stick with Zoom when you have WhatsApp, Slack, or even the old Skype as well as text messages and emails?
Given the wealth of options available, it’s inevitable that your team has their own preferences. An excellent approach to breaking the boring, repetitiveness of relying on just a single channel is to ask them to choose their favorite communication platform. Let them choose from one of the best webinar software available and use it for a change.
A channel adopted by most employees may not be great or fit for everyone. So, by asking this basic question, you’re showing a significant degree of awareness for your team. Plus, breaking up the channels of communications that you use may just save you from hours of screen time.
In this period of adaptation, most organizations and businesses that went entirely remote are still figuring out how to navigate this new normal. Zoom meetings have opened up a critical role in workplace communication during these trying times.
Although Zoom fatigue happens, following the above tips can help tackle this unforeseen challenge. In addition, you can seize this opportunity to innovate and improve your approach to remote work and reconnecting with your distributed employees in order to continue supporting satisfied and high-performing teams.
Learn About How Virtual Team Building, Training, and Coaching Solutions Can Benefit Your Remote Teams.
For more information about how your remote employees can benefit from virtual team building activities, training programs, or coaching solutions, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.
Hanson Cheng – Founder, Freedom to Ascend
Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their businesses and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.