Zoom fatigue – why it happens and how to avoid it

Whether it’s Zoom or some other video conferencing option that you use, the principle is the same, a whole day on it or even just a few hours can leave you feeling short of a few energy credits.

Firstly, let’s start by acknowledging the upside which can also help our mindset around this issue. Aren’t we lucky that we have these options at our disposal to allow us the flexibility to work from home and still be able to earn an income? Everyone from professional services to personal trainers are better off than they would have been if this pandemic happened even just 15 years ago.

At NEP we’ve been using Zoom for many years and it’s helped us that more people are now more comfortable doing workshops and coaching on Zoom.

Of course that doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing for everyone. We are often left feeling quite drained after our Zoom threshold has been met.

Some reasons why we feel drained

1. More interpretation required

Our brains are having to interpret way more information than we would if we were sitting in a room together.

Not only are our brains working on the issues of the meeting, but since we can’t see any body language lower than a person’s chest, or anything that’s going on in the background, our brains are probably trying to answer questions like the below all at the same time…..

For example, if a person looks sideways, are they bored? Or did a child just enter the room? Or are they looking at another screen and doing something completely different?

What to do about it:

Keep meetings shorting, sharp and to the point. For a workshop, start by asking people to show the same respect to each other as they would in a real room and shut down all other applications.

Also ensure people are asked to participate at random in the conversation.

2. Cameras off or on?

Some people prefer cameras off and some people prefer them on. Either way if you don’t know why a person has their camera off, our brain starts trying to interpret why? Are they disengaged? Are they still in their pyjamas? Again, all while trying to discuss the meeting content.

What to do about it:

Try agreeing at the start of the meeting, or when the meeting is planned, whether it’s a cameras off or on situation. And best make it a “one in all in” situation. Once everyone knows what to expect, your brain can focus on the matter at hand.

3. Aaah the technological delights of different platforms

This one is tricky as when we are dealing with clients we often need to use their platform and all platforms are quite different in terms of the download required, the settings required etc. As a speaker, needing to use many different platforms is par for the course. I won’t lie, as someone who is also technologically challenged, this takes a lot of energy credits for me.

What to do about it:

Use your platform of choice as much as possible. For the sessions where you can’t use your platform, do a practice session with someone else first so that you know it will work at the time you really need it.

4. We are worried about our own environment

Will a child walk in? Will the dog start barking? Will council workers start digging up the road just outside your desk?

Yep – these are all issues which our brain is trying to think about while focusing on the task at hand.

What to do about it:

Setting up signals to manage others in your household from disturbing you can be helpful.

As for the council workers….. That’s a tricky one……wine helps J

5. Trying to multitask isn’t overly effective and drains energy credits

Trying to multitask in a meeting, or pretending to listen to a webinar while also doing something else takes a LOT of cognitive energy for a pretty average result.

What to do about it:

Do yourself a favour and quit the multi-tasking. Either don’t bother tuning into the meeting or webinar, or give it your full attention and turn off everything else.

If you need help with anything about working from home effectively, from structuring your days better to optimise brain function, to enhancing mental fitness, please get in touch.

You can also check out www.nextevolutionenergy.com for our “Neuroscience of getting more done” online course to help you turbocharge your most productive hours in your day.