When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, businesses quickly transitioned to remote work. Sadly, many employees found themselves tired and burned out by the tools meant to help them. Workplace stress eventually became an enormous problem, and the “new normal” included many employees complaining about Zoom fatigue and work-from-home burnout.
Tired of Technology?
Video calls require more focus than in-person interactions because your brain puts more effort into processing and understanding non-verbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions. This becomes even worse if the video call involves more than one person.
When you talk to several people on the same conference call, you quickly look between speakers with different backgrounds. Your brain’s focus also gets challenged because it processes everything simultaneously and might not focus on the speaker. As a result, Zoom calls may make you feel mentally drained.
The human brain understands the value of having people around and enjoys interpersonal interactions. Thus, when your mind hears and sees other people but realizes they aren’t physically present, this may cause a sense of disconnection and dissonance. This dissonance may be jarring to handle and challenging to adapt to, and can cause high stress levels.
Video calls can be physically uncomfortable, too. When you stare at a computer screen for extended periods, it strains your entire body. Your neck, back, and shoulders may hurt. Your eyes may water or feel strained, and you may experience headaches. This can make the experience of Zoom calls and meetings more challenging.
People working from home are at risk of “video call burnout” or “Zoom fatigue.” You may experience tension, anxiety, exhaustion, and fatigue because of regular high-intensity virtual interactions. Zoom fatigue is common in the work sphere, but you can also experience it from calls that aren’t work-related. For example, those experiencing Zoom fatigue may:
- Feel disgruntled at the thought of getting on Zoom calls.
- Feel demotivated to show up for conference calls.
- Believe that conference calls are useless and add no value to their work.
- Experience trouble focusing or concentrating.
The consequences of Zoom fatigue and technology burnout can spill over into other aspects of your life, too. If not addressed, this burnout and fatigue can cause:
- A pessimistic or cynical attitude towards things.
- Trouble focusing and remembering information.
- Constant negative thoughts about others, oneself, and the future.
- Low levels of satisfaction with life.
If any of these signs sound familiar, you may be experiencing fatigue from technology. If that’s the case, there are several things you can do to make it better.
3 Ways To Combat Zoom Fatigue
1. Separate Work and Home: Have an Office Space
This doesn’t just mean spending your time in two physical locations. Working from home can make this separation challenging—especially for those living in a small and busy home. But even if your office is a 15-minute drive from your bedroom, your personal and work lives can still affect each other.
Consider work-life balance as two complementary states of mind. You can quickly eliminate all distractions and have a comfortable and productive workflow in “work mode.” On the other side, you can entirely switch to focus on other essential things in “home mode,” such as your family, friends, and hobbies, without job stress pestering you.
You should have a separate office and a well-defined clock-out time to reduce burnout from working from home. This gives you the hard target you need to get stuff done. Having a separate location that you associate with work can boost your focus and efficiency.
Separating your work and personal lives can also help you work smarter, not longer. So choose the time to clock in and out and stick to it. Shut down your computer or laptop and move away from the home office. The more you can disconnect from the work mindset, the more enjoyable and relaxing you’ll find your free time, and the more productive you’ll be the next day.
2. Avoid Multitasking
It’s common to think that you can do more in less time, but research shows that doing multiple tasks simultaneously reduces productivity. Switching between tasks can eventually cost you nearly 40% of your productive time. Further, research from Stanford shows that those who multitask don’t remember as much as if they had focused on one thing.
So, the next time you’re on a Zoom call, close any apps or tabs that may distract you (Slack, your inbox, etc.) put your smartphone far away, and be present. We know it’s tempting to read Instagram or Facebook messages, but try to remind yourself that social media messages can wait 10 minutes. You’ll be able to write a better response when you’re not also on a Zoom call.
3. Go Easy on Yourself, Take Breaks!
Luke Ferrel notes, “‘hustle’ culture tells us to never be satisfied…I’m grateful to be in a satisfying workplace.”
To be more productive during Zoom calls and when working from home, you need to take it easy on yourself by taking regular breaks. This way, you’ll have a few minutes to recharge, take a snack break, restroom break, or any kind of break you may need in the real world.
Plan rest time in between video calls. You can even limit the number of video calls and Zoom meetings you have per day. You should also go easy on yourself and avoid overworking by taking a few minutes to get up and walk around.
When you attend in-person meetings, you often have to move from one place to another, which provides some rest time between meetings. So, build short breaks into your remote working arrangements. Your body may also benefit from getting up and exercising and practicing deep breaths before and after Zoom meetings.
Also, if you can choose virtual meeting schedules, schedule time in-between for much-needed brain breaks.
Zoom Fatigue Is Real—But There Are Many Ways to Combat It!
Work-from-home burnout and Zoom fatigue are a reality and are much more complicated than they appear. Reframe your business culture and policies from the “emergency mode” of working remotely to the norm from home. That includes during the pandemic and after, when employees can either work full-time from home or visit the office a few days a week.
Remote work is also easier when you have the right tools. Zight (formerly CloudApp) is an instant image and video sharing tool for business professionals. It provides the fastest way to capture and embed HD videos, screencasts, screenshots, marked-up images, webcams, and screen recordings throughout business workflows, such as customer success, customer support, software development, design, sales, and marketing. Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s screen recorder makes it easier for multifunctional teams to collaborate via visual communication. Also, with this customer support tool, your customer support team can save time by explaining complex ideas visually. Learn more about how you can close customer support tickets three times faster with Zight (formerly CloudApp).