To say that we spend most of our time these days on Zoom calls is an understatement, to say the least. From weekly meetings, to morning stand-ups, to virtual workout classes, to Zoom happy hours with our socially distanced friends, video calls have become our windows to just about every corner of our lives. Needless to say, when you spend that much time on Zoom calls, it can start to take a toll on you. Whether it starts causing brain fog, giving you migraines, or irritating your eyes, Zoom fatigue is a real thing that we’re all starting to deal with no a more regular basis. That said, bowing out of meetings or skipping important work catchups aren’t exactly an option. So, what’s a person to do when Zoom fatigue hits? Here are a few ideas to start.
Factor in breaks
When you were in the office, it was inevitable that you’d have some small breaks in between your meetings. Even a back-to-back meeting schedule included moments of walking from one conference room to another, or popping by your desk for a second to grab something you need for the next meeting. When you’re at home and taking all of your video calls from your desk, it can be easy for back-to-back to literally mean back-to-back. Hopping right out of one Zoom call into another is one of the quickest ways to exhaust your video call tolerance, so it’s important to factor time into you schedule for breaks. Your best bet is to schedule your meetings with 10-minute breaks in between. This gives you a chance to stand up and stretch before heading into your next call.
Avoid video when you can
When you’re having a video chat with your friends at night to catch up, you probably want everyone to have their camera on so that you can see each other’s faces. When you’re having a meeting for work, though, all of that face time might not always be that important. Help yourself avoid burning out by becoming more selective with turning your video on for calls or joining with audio only. While a one-on-one meeting with your manager or your direct report may call for your video to be turned on since it’s a more personal and direct conversation, a company all hands meeting might not be as important for you to join with video. Simply prioritizing meetings according to which require video and which do not is an easy way to cut some of your time in front of your laptop’s camera down.
Take notes by hand
Even if you’re calling into a meeting with video, that doesn’t mean that you need to be staring at the camera the whole time. While we tend to feel like we have to be looking at the screen the whole time we’re on a video call to appear present and like we’re actively listening, there are other cues — asking questions or even simply nodding — that can demonstrate your alertness. That said, we recommend turning to handwritten notes during your next meeting as a way to naturally reduce your time staring at the screen. This gives your eyes a break, and helps your mind take a breather from the over-stimulating view of all your coworkers’ videos, your Slack notifications, etc.