As more knowledge workers go remote, Zoom meetings have become one of the most common ways we work together at a distance. Yet as useful as Zoom can be, the ubiquitous online video conferencing platform can also lead to stress, strain, and fatigue. To help, we’ve put together 4 tips to help beat exhaustion from yet another Zoom meeting.
- Consider whether you need a meeting at all.
This advice applies equally to digital and in-person meetings, but is particularly useful for platforms like Zoom, which make hosting meetings simple. Rather than assuming every decision, discussion, or interaction requires a Zoom meeting, ask yourself if the meeting is even necessary in the first place. Reserving Zoom meetings only for topics of central importance can help your teams feel less overwhelmed by the “always on” demands of remote work. Plus, fewer meetings often means increased productivity and better work-life balance.
- Make some changes to your technical setup.
Zoom and other video conferencing platforms, while both powerful and useful, have their technical limitations. Some of the biggest challenges with many video conferencing setups are their default settings, which often force the user to see their own video on-screen and may trigger a full-screen view of others. Both looking at ourselves when we talk and seeing the faces of our colleagues projected across our entire screens are tiring to our eyes and attention spans. Luckily, as this study from Stanford University points out, these limitations are manageable by changing some basic Zoom settings.
- Allow people some “screen-free” time.
Today’s knowledge workers can spend upwards of 8 to 10 hours each day looking at screens of various sizes, from laptops to monitors to smartphones. Research indicates that the way our digital devices are designed can have a negative impact on our health both physically and mentally. For example, we physically blink less often when looking at screens, which can cause eye strain and fatigue. We may also be at higher risk for conditions like depression, anxiety, and sleep-related challenges when we spend too long looking at screens. This is why experts suggest taking periodic breaks throughout the day to set aside our screens and refresh ourselves.
- Try breakout rooms.
In addition to physical and mental fatigue, prolonged Zoom meetings can actually cut into our productivity. Unlike in-person meetings, Zoom meetings often require long periods of attention, especially when we’re on-camera, which can make us less attentive and more drained over time. If you still want to hold a Zoom meeting, consider making the meeting a more collaborative working session rather than an all-hands-on deck approach. The “breakout room” functionality within Zoom allows you to segment a larger group of attendees into small sessions where they can discuss and collaborate more easily.
There’s no doubt that Zoom and other video conferencing platforms can be incredibly useful tools to allow teams to work together around the world. But as with any technology, Zoom must serve our needs first and foremost. Just a few small adjustments can make video conferencing a productive and helpful experience once again.