Here we are, day 7,000 of working from home, and within that time you have probably done over 50,000 Zoom calls. While I might be slightly exaggerating, the novelty of Zoom has certainly worn off for the majority of us. While some people may be ploughing on with Zoom pub quizzes and social events in their own time, many of us don’t touch it outside of working hours.
Within a working environment, spending a lot of time on Zoom can be tough. When you’re on a call it can be easy to zone out. Staring at a screen of floating heads isn’t as engaging as physically being in the same room with people, and issues such as dodgy connection and forgetting to unmute yourself can make the whole process of having a meeting much more tedious.
Personally, one of the biggest challenges is processing non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language on video calls. Conversations don’t flow as naturally which can make it difficult to relax, meaning even the simplest of calls can be mentally exhausting.
Even though I still struggle with Zoom fatigue from time to time, here are a few things that can help you overcome it.
This may sound a bit obvious, but do what you would normally if another task at work is frustrating you — walk away, just leave it for a bit and do something completely different.
Whether it’s sitting outside for five minutes, making yourself something to eat or even doing your washing, get away from your screen. This could even extend to calls as well — if you have an hour call maybe suggest an interval halfway through.
Hide yourself from view
I know I’m not the only person who spends a lot of time on Zoom just staring at myself. Thoughts such as, “I really do look like I just got out of bed”, “my room is a mess” and “I probably should’ve put my washing out of shot”, have frequently popped into my mind while on calls. Simple fix, hide yourself from view. Once you’ve done this you can give the call your full attention.
Give your call your full attention
We’ve all been there, sitting on a Zoom call and then an email pops into your inbox. You click into your Outlook and the next thing you know 20 minutes has gone by and you’re trying to do several tasks at once, as well as take notes from the meeting. I’ve found that I’ve felt much more comfortable on video call when I’m not trying to multitask at the same time.
I think we need to dispel the notion that working from home is less stressful than being in the office. It can be hard to switch off when the place you work is often a few metres away from the place you sleep. Make working from home and video calls a bit easier by trying these steps. This is the ‘new normal’ after all.