As working from home continues, we’re experiencing a new reliance on video meetings and conferencing not only throughout the work week, but also after work and on the weekends for virtual hangouts and catching up with friends and family. But with over two months of video conferencing in the books, many are starting to feel the exhaustion of constantly being on camera. The popular term being used to describe this feeling is “Zoomed-out”, and it’s coming from how we process information when we’re getting it over video, while fatiguing our brains from minimal visual breaks.
It may not be noticeable at first, but video conferencing forces us to use additional concentration and focus that we wouldn’t normally use in an in person conversation. Over video chat we have to overcompensate due to the lack of non-verbal cues that are usually visible, while also showing we’re paying attention by looking straight into the camera at all times. In real life, we don’t start into someone’s eyes constantly throughout a conversation, so this, coupled with constantly seeing ourselves and noticing every slight move, is truly tiring.
So, you’re probably asking yourself, “How can I avoid getting Zoomed-Out”? Fear not, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you, along with the rest of us, avoid the video fatigue that comes with working from home.
It’s so important to prioritize which meetings should be video calls, and which can be easily switched to a phone call or even an email exchange. Each week, or two, sit down and look at your meetings to figure out which ones are the most beneficial, and which ones can be changed. If possible, try to only book 1-2 video calls per day, allowing yourself to take the visual breaks needed to keep your brain alert and awake. Most people are in the same situation as you are, and are more than willing to change that video conference to a phone call. A simple “I’d really love a break from video conferencing, would you be okay to do this meeting over the phone?”. More than likely, they’ll be happy to do so, and both parties will likely be more effective during the meeting. Phone meetings worked before, so why change that!
In the regular work world, meetings have timelines, whether that be 30 minutes or 90 minutes, they usually begin and end on time. With video calling, it’s easy to let the time get away from you, and we often find it hard to end a meeting without feeling rude or abrupt. If you set a determined timeline before the meeting begins, this will help to stay on track throughout the video call, while also giving everyone the ability to exit the meeting on time. Respect that the work day still has a beginning and end, even though at home it may not feel like it. If your work day ends at 5:00pm, try not to book any video calls after 4:30pm, and make sure to build in breaks between all of your meetings giving you a chance to refresh and recharge.
Offer Good Content!
Offering good, educational, and exciting content is the best way to keep your audiences engaged. We know this is true in real-life meetings and conferences, but it’s even more important when presenting over video calls. Staring at a screen all day is tiring for anyone, but it’s even more exhausting when you’re watching someone present mundane content. If you’re going to host a video conference, ensure that your content is engaging and relevant. It’s also best to keep video calls to a shorter time-frame, try staying within 20-45 minutes, and pushing the best content. You can always send out more information post-video chat.
(Check out “Ways to keep your virtual event attendees engaged”! https://modernconcierge.com/ways-to-keep-your-virtual-event-attendees-engaged-from-start-to-finish/)
It also doesn’t help that it’s extremely easy to get distracted when constantly using video conferencing. We’ve all tried to multitask while on a video call, but in the end we just get distracted and lose focus all together and not actually take in all of the information. When you’re involved in a video meeting, try turning off all of your other notifications for the duration of the meeting, while also exiting all non-essential computer tabs.
Know Your Limits, and Don’t Be Afraid to Voice Them!
This might be the most important tip of them all… learn when to say no! This is the time where you have to be truthful about your emotional needs. Practice being able to turn down certain video calls, like the weekly happy hour, or non-essential meetings, without using excuses. Most of us are feeling the same way, and will completely understand when you let them know you just need a break. There are so many constant video meetings that we wouldn’t be attending in regular life, so why are we constantly saying yes now? Communicating your needs is a tool that will continue to help you even after we return to the physical workplace.
Make sure to block out time for yourself every day, where you put away the screens and relax by doing something for yourself. Some great options are meditation, yoga, or reading!
At the end of the day, we can’t avoid video meetings all together, but when we learn to communicate our needs, and prioritize essential meetings, we can help ourselves stay focused and useful. By doing small things like allowing colleagues to have their videos on or off optional, or utilizing phone calls, can immensely help our mental health and overall fatigue. Video conferencing is here to stay, but we can make it easier on ourselves, and ultimately avoid getting “Zoomed-Out”.
Modern Concierge is your dedicated concierge team that handles all of your lifestyle needs. From offering home concierge services to being a luxury travel agency and event company in Toronto, we give you access to the best lifestyle management available. If you’re ready to make life easier, contact us today!