From Zoomed Out To Tapped In: 5 Tips To Fight Zoom Fatigue

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May 1 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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With the workplace changes required to navigate the pandemic came the positive side effect of more flexibility in work styles. However, with that flexibility, and many companies adopting fully remote or hybrid work schedules, also comes the reality of increased minutes spent online to make up for in-person time. If you struggle through virtual calls, there are a few tips to fight Zoom fatigue, which many people experience.

Healthline describes Zoom fatigue, aka virtual fatigue, as “the exhaustion you feel after any kind of video call or conference.” In addition, this digitally induced form of burnout has no official diagnosis. A general downward energy shift after a video call indicates that you feel its effects. Having difficulty switching between virtual meetings and tasks and avoiding or dreading work calls are other ways that Zoom fatigue can show up. 

The increased energy it takes to work from anywhere–juggling time zones, clients, and virtual calls–can lead to a general sense of burnout. Zoom fatigue is simply one way it can manifest in a work environment. Instead of dreading your next virtual meeting, here are five valuable tips to fight Zoom fatigue and make your flexible work life work for you.

1. Conduct a meeting audit.

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A meeting audit is one of the first steps to reclaiming your time and combatting Zoom fatigue. Assess the number of meetings you’re in during a week, the length of those meetings, and the effectiveness of each. One of the reasons professionals feel overwhelmed comes from the anxiety around needing time to complete work tasks. If much of your time goes toward meetings, it may be worth discussing with your supervisor.

Another option for reducing Zoom fatigue through an audit is reimagining how information is shared. Some meetings can still be effective as emails or shared documents, freeing up time for everyone involved.

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2. Set a schedule that works for you.

If you have flexibility in your daily schedule, consolidating meetings to specific days is one step toward getting control of your time. Compartmentalize your energy instead of toggling between tasks and meetings by designating particular days as non-meeting days.

While every role doesn’t provide such flexibility, establish boundaries around optimal meeting times for yourself and the team. It’s easy to think that Monday meetings are a good idea, but research suggests it’s the worst day for meetings, as reported by CNBC. Instead, aim to set meetings for Tuesdays or Wednesdays once everyone can handle the week’s priorities. Afternoon meetings typically work best for team settings; however, you may have clients or co-workers who prefer conducting calls earlier and leaving the afternoon for focused work.

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3. Take meetings off-camera when possible.

One of the joys of working virtually is skipping the commute and the daily tax of dressing up for the office. Black women in the workplace often spend considerable energy and effort on their professional looks. Working from home allows many women to excel in their work without the in-person office politics. Meetings will still occur, but every call doesn’t have a camera-on requirement.

Unless it’s mandatory, explore which calls can be optional for camera participation. Expect to join on-camera for calls with clients and formal meetings. However, weekly internal meetings might be optional. An environment where camera use preferences aren’t frowned upon allows people to participate in the meeting in the way they deem best. Whether you need to multitask or don’t have the bandwidth to worry about your visual appearance, don’t feel pressured to attend every virtual meeting.

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4. Minimize the urge to multitask.

Some meetings don’t require your full attention, but your most important calls deserve concentration. Focus your energy on the call instead of splitting your brain space between several tasks at once.

A clutter-free, video-friendly space starts with your immediate environment, from your computer to your workplace. Try to work in a space devoid of distractions, with minimal noise or ambient background music. Close or minimize the endless tabs and windows that aren’t related to your call. Hiding your profile view on the video call can also help you focus, as research shows many people spend most of their time gazing at themselves, according to the Harvard Business Review. Placing your cell phone on silent mode or tucking it away for the meeting is also helpful for staying present on the call.

5. Make the most of mini-breaks.

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Find ways to step away from the computer when your schedule permits, even if only for a few minutes. During shorter breaks of 10 minutes or less, treat your body to a brief stretch session or a dose of vitamin D by stepping outdoors. Longer breaks or a lunch hour is a great time to make room for your fitness goals, try a guided meditation, or, on challenging days, take a power nap.

Finding ways to prevent exhaustion and boost energy can help ease the stressors of virtual connections that are here to stay. Implementing these minor tweaks to your work schedule can help fight Zoom fatigue and get a better handle on your on-screen time. By taking ownership of your schedule where possible and being intentional with your time, you’ll end your workdays with more energy for the people and things that matter most.

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By: Simone Cherí

Simone Cherí is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer and contributing editor based in the Washington D.C. area. With more than 25 countries under her belt (and counting) and over a decade of storytelling for brands, she aims to highlight culturally relevant and engaging narratives across luxury travel, adventure, and BIPOC experiences around the world. Her byline has been published on Travel Noire and Home & Texture, with previous features in Condé Nast Traveler, HuffPost, and Essence. When she's not collaborating with brands or exploring new countries, Simone is feverishly seeking the next destination for a nomad adventure.

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