25 Aug 6 Antidotes for Zoom Fatigue
As we “celebrate” five months of “Sheltering in Place,” something that’s become as ubiquitous in our lives as masks and hand sanitizer is Zoom. It was only a couple of months into COVID-time when an ABL Member first lamented about their “Zoom Fatigue.” Since then, of course, the complaints have mounted, as many of our Members – and business people around the globe – reflect that they’re typically spending four hours a day (or more) on Zoom. Given their multi-time-zone interactions with international dev shops and customers, those days are long.
In fact, when Googling “Zoom fatigue,” in less than a second, Google spit out 83,200,000 results; fortunately, she also has 26,700,000 responses to “how to combat zoom fatigue.”
According to the experts, we primarily get exhausted Zooming because we’re sitting down, for long stretches at a time, looking at “Gallery View,” and ourselves.
So, not surprisingly, they recommend:
Change your position!
We’ve had ABL Members on our Round Table Zoom calls who stand at their desks, sit on balance balls, or even walk! (You just have to appreciate that your audience can get sea sick if they’re watching you bounce up and down or walking in the great outdoors – so let your meeting host know that you’re still “on,” even though your camera is off, so they can bring your voice “into” the meeting, if not your bouncing body!)
Mix it up:
Ideally at least once an hour take a “stretch break.” If everyone else on the Zoom call isn’t stretching at that same time, stay “current” with the meeting by turning off your webcam, but keep your computer screen on.
Minimize eye fatigue:
It turns out, when we’re in Gallery View, we’re straining to pick-up everyone’s words, as well as their feelings and attitudes, by continually searching their faces for nonverbal signals – like facial expressions, tone of voice, and posture. Each participant added to the Gallery requires more energy – and more eye strain. So, Speaker View is recommended to help focus your attention and energy on one person at a time, so you can save your energy for your turns on Speaker View.
Don’t worry about how you look:
The photo of you (particularly in Gallery View) can serve as a distracting eye-magnet. Chances are excellent if, when you joined the meeting in Speaker View (so you could see your own video and you checked-out OK – with no lipstick on your teeth, or lettuce between them), you still look great. So some experts recommend:
- Hiding Yourself – by right-clicking your video to display the menu, then choosing “Hide Myself.” That way, everyone else in the meeting can see the video of you, but you won’t be distracted by it.
- And, while we’re on the subject of how you look, Lighten up! As a camera expert wrote in USA Today, one steady lamp, directly by your face or looking into the light from a window in front of you is best – without sidelight or backlight (especially from windows).
- Also, step back from the camera, since the closer you are to the wide-angle lens on a smartphone or webcam, the more distorted you’ll look. Eye-to-eye contact, looking straight ahead into the camera is best.
- And, as for what you’re wearing, “a plain, solid [preferably lighter] color will help bring out the best you.”
From the Harvard Business Review to a dozen other articles, this admonition came up repeatedly. Tempted though we all are to mentally switch away from the Zoom – even for a few seconds – “Because you have to turn certain parts of your brain off and on for different types of work, switching between tasks can cost you as much as 40 percent of your productive time. It can also cause you to “lose your place” in the Zoom call.
And go beyond Zoom:
Although billionaire Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, wouldn’t want to hear it, there are other games in town. ABL-Tech Member Jason Makevich, CEO of Greenlight, assured me that “Zoom functionality, which is good, is only about 5% of what [Microsoft] Teams does.” For example, I didn’t think that you could have the cool backgrounds we’ve seen depicted behind our Members during the last 40 Technology and Healthcare Zoom Tables. But Jason corrects me: “In Teams, you can change how multiple people are shown, where it cuts out each attendee and places them together in one background, which is weird, but pretty cool. Like this…
And, soon you’ll be able to meet in AR or VR!
ABL-Tech Member Phillippe Lewicki, CEO of AfterNow, has just unveiled their AR/VR platform for Remote Presentations, AfterNow Prez Remote. The software is available now in private beta, with a “platform that delivers more meaningful and engaging remote meetings by harnessing the power of augmented and virtual reality, supporting a presenter with up to 500 participants. The technology, combined with Oculus or Microsoft headsets, empowers executives, sales teams, trainers, and educators to present immersive content to their audience, resulting in increased engagement, satisfaction, and retention, while avoiding burnout and fatigue.” Imagine how much more engaged college-bound kids, who were told this week not to return to campus, would be if they were participating in their classes in AR or VR. It might even make that $55,473-per-year tuition at Stanford seem like a bargain.
So, let me know if applying some of these antidotes for Zoom fatigue work for you – or if you have other suggestions that have worked wonders for you!
By Mimi Grant, President, Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization – Round Tables and Events for CEOs of Healthcare and Technology Companies