How to Spot and Beat Zoom Fatigue

Workplace Wellbeing
January 13, 2022
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The shift to remote work seems to have an endless array of benefits for productivity. Cutting down on commuting has saved everyone a significant amount of time. We assumed that working from home would bring a whole slew of benefits as well. Having more time of our own should have been a massive boon for mental fitness.

And yet, for many, remote work has only made them feel more stressed and exhausted. A good part of this can be chalked up to the symptoms of what is known as, “Zoom Fatigue”. It’s a bit of a goofy name for a serious condition. If you are a team leader, Zoom Fatigue is of especial concern. It could be destroying your team’s energy, and sapping their morale – and you might not even realize it. 

This piece will discuss what Zoom Fatigue is, the symptoms, and how you can combat it to promote more employee wellness. This includes fun group activities and online team games. Remote work is a fact of life for many teams now. But that doesn’t mean your remote life has to be an unpleasant one! 

Symptoms of Zoom Fatigue

So what exactly is Zoom Fatigue? Essentially, Zoom Fatigue is the state of experiencing anxiety, stress, or exhaustion due to excessive use of video meeting tools. Technically, this doesn’t need to be related to Zoom itself. That platform just had the unlucky distinction of becoming one of the most popular during the pandemic. So it ended up with the unfortunate job of describing this condition. 

Everyone’s Zoom Fatigue can be a little bit different. However, there are a few recognizable symptoms. If you are experiencing more than a couple of these, you might be suffering from Zoom Fatigue. 

Burnout: Do you just feel mentally drained after every Zoom meeting ends? This is the most common symptom of Zoom fatigue. If joining a video meeting seems like torture, you might be burnt out on them. 

Tiredness: Are you having trouble sleeping? Overuse of computer screens is often the cause of this, but Zoom Fatigue can be an exacerbating factor. 

Eye Strain: If your eyes hurt, or you have trouble focusing on objects, you might have sat in on one too many video meetings.

Concentration Issues: The modern digital world has hurt the concentration of all of us. If your ability to focus is notably decreased, however, it may be because of Zoom Fatigue. 

Anxiety: Worried about your next video meeting? Worried about being on video? Worried in general? If you find yourself rescheduling video meetings all the time, and feeling strangely worried when your camera is on, you might have Zoom Fatigue-related anxiety.

As part of any team leader’s responsibility to employee wellness, it’s important to also be able to recognize these symptoms in others. If you notice that a lot of your team members are doing their best to avoid being on camera, or are constantly rescheduling Zoom Meetings, you may have an epidemic of Zoom fatigue on your hands! 

Causes of Zoom Fatigue

Before we can understand how to deal with Zoom Fatigue and improve employee wellness, we must understand what causes it. There’s nothing inherently wrong or dangerous with any video meeting software. Rather, Zoom Fatigue is caused by a few different factors

It’s important to understand that video meeting is very different from regular social interactions. People’s faces tend to be displayed very close to the camera. This creates the feeling that one needs to maintain an uncomfortable amount of eye contact with the speaker. It also makes attendees much more conscious about their appearance.

Video meetings also rob us of the normal pace and flow of social gatherings and meetings. We don’t get the chance to stand up or pace a room. We find ourselves overloaded with too much visual input as we try to follow multiple screens. We also feel the need to go further to constantly remind the hosts that we are paying attention. This all leads up to an exhausting experience. 

Combating Zoom Fatigue 

Zoom Fatigue can often come across as a problem that no one wants to engage with. After all, your company can’t just stop video meetings altogether, right? There are, however, some easy steps that both employers and employees can take to cut down on Zoom Fatigue.

For employees, a good first step is to make sure that they have a setup that doesn’t exacerbate Zoom Fatigue. If possible, they should try to pick up separate webcams and keyboards. This will let them get into a more comfortable position. It also means that they can step back from the camera, and maybe even get up and move around if needed. 

Employees also need to become more comfortable with communicating that they have Zoom Fatigue. It should be seen as okay to voice concerns over having too many video meetings.

By the same token, it’s up to employers to recognize and accept if employees are starting to become Zoom Fatigued. If employees ask to go through some meetings with their cameras turned off, you should take it as a serious request.

It’s also up to you to consider whether every video call needs to be, well, a video call. Can you handle things with emails instead? Does everyone’s camera need to be on?

Lastly, try your best to mix up your virtual meetings. If everything is super serious all the time, it’s only going to make employees dread your virtual meetings more. Think of some group fun activities to do, such as online team games. Some fun virtual events can help people start to approach video meetings as less than just a chore.

Running online sessions for employee wellness can also help combat Zoom Fatigue. Make sure to check out our corporate demo to see how Liberate can help your business promote employee wellness.

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