Zoom meetings have become a constant in everyone’s life. A large part of our work and entertainment is happening through this online tool, as many of us are spending more time at home.
As a consequence, we have started to hear about something called Zoom burnout or Zoom fatigue, a general feeling of being drained after joining several video conferencing calls.
In your business, Zoom might be the tool you chose to keep in touch with your team members. And now you might be concerned, thinking that you have brought a problem to your team. So, let’s discuss what exactly Zoom fatigue is and what you can do to avoid it.
For starters, Zoom burnout isn’t only about Zoom. It got its name due to the popularity of this online tool, but any virtual meeting solution can cause it.
Also, be aware that the overuse of the video conferencing tool is at the core of the issue. Hosting a video call now and then shouldn’t lead to fatigue.
Zoom burnout is usually described as a feeling of extreme tiredness with no other reasonable cause. It can also be presented as a constant headache.
The reasons behind it are yet to be 100% defined, but, according to an article published by the Psychiatric Times, we can list the following:
Apparently, it’s the sum of all the reasons above that generate fatigue. You should also take into account possible psychological issues linked to pandemic times, such as financial concerns or other stress factors.
To be clear, Zoom meetings aren’t evil. A tool can only do what you ask it to do. It’s up to you to decide when its use has gone beyond healthy limits.
In this context, let’s get an overview of the pros and cons of Zoom meetings. They also apply to the majority of virtual meeting tools available.
You will notice that your team might be going into Zoom burnout by observing the following factors:
Thankfully, there are things you can do to solve it or, at least, to minimize the negative impact of virtual meetings.
The most obvious way to avoid Zoom fatigue is ending virtual meetings altogether. It would certainly do the trick. But let’s agree this is not feasible for most businesses, especially during pandemic times. Also, many companies have team members living in different parts of the world.
An option that might help is to limit the duration of your virtual meetings. The longer the session goes, the more likely it’s that people will be fatigued. Create a meeting agenda and keep the conversation to the point, avoiding an excessive amount of small talk or banter. This will help you to decrease the time spent per meeting.
Likewise, the more often you book meetings, the greater the chances to burn out your team. Before sending invitations, think if there is another way to discuss the topic. If a collective conversation must be held, invite-only those essential to the discussion. The rest of the team can catch up later by watching a replay or reading a transcription.
Part of the Zoom burnout is caused by having to be live on camera and/or sitting on a chair. So, consider the possibility of allowing your team to turn off the camera and participate via audio. Unless you must see their faces for some specific reason, it tends to be as productive.
In many cases, a text group chat is enough to discuss a topic. Yes, written communication has limitations and can lead to misinterpretations. But it works fine if all you need is to catch up or share a short piece of information. And you can do it through any messaging system you already have, such as Slack or Zoho Cliq.
It seems old-fashioned to suggest it, but audio conferencing through phone calls is still a possibility. It follows the same principle of a Zoom meeting with the camera off with the advantage of staying away from screens altogether. Talk to your phone system provider and ask what they can offer you. It might be cheaper than you think.
Last but not least, you can substitute some (if not all) your virtual sessions with async meetings. In other words, you will have video conversations with your team non-simultaneously. If you choose this option, stay away from WhatsApp. Use a secure and professional tool, such as RemoteWorkly or Yac. They also usually come with extra tools, such as transcription and screen sharing.
As you can see, there are many ways to avoid Zoom burnout without compromising your communication with your team members. Consider why you need to host virtual meetings and implement the solutions more suitable to your businesses. It will make Zoom fatigue a thing of the past.