Once upon a time, working from home may have sounded like a dream. Don’t get us wrong, it still has its perks, but it does mean we are spending a lot more time on video calls. And after the novelty wore off, these calls have been taking their toll on many of us.
What is zoom fatigue?
Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face meeting, which relies a lot on visual cues. A dozen giant heads staring at us for a long period is mentally exhausting. Plus there's the added stress of Should I fix my hair, put on makeup? What do I wear for my half-professional, half-pyjama outfit?
The video call environment means our brain needs to work twice as hard during virtual meetings. This means we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone of voice and body language. Paying more attention to these drains a lot of our energy. Hence why many of us are leaving “the office” each day feeling completely exhausted.
So, what can you do about it?
Firstly, consider whether the meeting needs to happen. In some cases, online platforms with detailed comments can reduce the need to meet or even the length of the meeting.
Where possible take breaks between meetings. Schedule breaks between work-related meetings. We suggest at least 5 to 10 minutes before your next one.
The intense focus on one thing that is close up can feel like facing a threat to the brain. Practice the "20-20-20" rule. Try looking at something other than a screen that's 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes in order to avoid eye strain.
Adjust how your Zoom call looks. Shift from gallery view to speaker view and only focus on one person at a time during your meeting.
It’s easier to do a voice call instead of a video call sometimes and it can be less stressful and exhausting. The phone still works, try a phone call, we only have to concentrate on one voice and can walk around which can help our thinking.
You could also try the 'hide self-view' option in your settings. That gives your brain one less thing to try and process.
Change your location. Blurred boundaries affect our own personal health and well-being, so try to make the space where you work feel different from where you live, even if it's in the same area. Get rid of the coffee mug on your desk, change the lighting if possible - this will help you create a boundary between work and living space.