Zoom Fatigue is Real

Published on 04 May 2020

Zoom Fatigue is Real

10 Tips For Grounding And Combatting Video Conferencing Fatigue

Covid -19 has impacted our lives in many ways, reshaping how we travel and work, to the way we operate and see the world. We’re on video calls more than ever and many of us are finding it exhausting.

In New Zealand internet levels are sitting at around 60% higher usage with video conferencing having a reported 610% spike since pre-lockdown levels. So there is no doubt that we are online for hours longer each day. What’s the impact of this?

Whether it’s just chatting socially online or regular team meetings, being on a video call takes more focus than a face to face meeting. Paying attention to the non-verbal cues like facial expressions, body language, tone, emotions consumes a lot of energy. It’s harder to relax into a natural rhythm. The extra attention can cause a strain where it feels like the mind is working harder to connect. Awkward silences, delays, freezing screens, interrupting or talking over others can all add to the anxiousness around technology. Using headphones for hours of VC (video conferencing) and sitting in the same position can add to the overload on the senses and discomfort of the body.

Then there’s the added factor of seeing yourself on screen and being hyper aware of how you look (the extra wrinkles that seem to have appeared overnight!) and the feeling of being watched, having to perform. For those of us with imposter syndrome or performance anxiety this pressure can be nerve wracking. Add to that the shifting boundaries between work, home, family…inviting your workmates into your bubble on a daily basis has become the new norm.

Then the complexity of the other conditions inside and outside our bubbles that are impacting on our mental health; whether it’s financial insecurity, health issues, loss, sleeplessness, loneliness, juggling children’s needs, extended family concerns, worries over our business’ future and our own performance….All of us, whether introverts or extroverts, are experiencing disruption and change like never before.

Some simple tips for grounding and combatting VC fatigue:

1. Use the pause when people unmute to breath out, relax, open… 2. Three minute breathing space meditation between meetings
3. Get up and stretch or even better go for a walk round the block
4. Ground yourself by feeling into your feet – heel to toe
5. Drink plenty of water
6. Look away from screen or have some calls with the video off
7. Take a ‘walk and talk’ meeting outside
8. Use your phone instead
9. Honour boundaries and transition rituals (between work day and family time, build in decompression time)
10. Colouring pencils/sharpies to draw a summary of each meeting

Download PDF version here.

Justine Justine Farrington is a Senior Consultant at Human Synergistics. She is an experienced leadership facilitator and coach who specialises in resilience and emotional intelligence training for wellbeing and helping grow constructive cultures.

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