One of the more common symptoms arising from the “new normal” of remote work is Zoom fatigue: the exhaustion, burnout, and stress that accompany spending too much time on virtual communication platforms.
Despite its name, this is not simply fatigue caused by the Zoom Video Communication platform. Streaming video calls on Skype, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Google Meeting, and other digital platforms can all be equally draining. Virtual calls require you to pay closer attention than when we are actually face-to-face with one another. It takes more energy to detect non-verbal cues and facial expressions. Sitting in a chair and staring at a screen for hours strains your eyes and body. Being on camera brings added pressure to perform and to present a professional image to others. Technical glitches and delays in audio/video feeds further increase frustration.
Just as the Internet is abundant with studies about the causes of Zoom fatigue, there are numerous suggestions to combat virtual weariness, such as:
- Take frequent breaks.
- Look away from the screen often to rest your eyes.
- Strive for shorter meetings.
- Avoid multitasking, which drains your attention capacity.
- Try not to look at your own image and worry about your appearance.
- Use plain backgrounds to reduce distractions.
- Schedule calls where you can take a walk while you talk.
- Substitute phone calls, email, or pre-recorded videos for live streaming when appropriate.
- Schedule blocks of screen-free hours and/or screen-free days.
These types of tips and hints are useful for reducing Zoom fatigue. However, one antidote that hasn’t received much attention: couple virtual meetings with a collaborative digital workspace where team members can work together simultaneously. Using most video conferencing platforms feels like a one-dimensional experience. We sit in front of our screens and stare at a stream of talking heads. It’s like watching an infomercial on our computers 10+ hours a day.
What if we could do more than simply SEE our colleagues, but actually WORK WITH them? The answer is a flexible, multi-functional virtual collaboration space – a whiteboard – that allows us to interactively write and edit content in real time. If we were developing a new product, for example, everyone could participate in the creative process. A salesperson could tell a customer, “Let me illustrate for you how this might work,” by launching in real-time a virtual collaboration platform and present an interactive demonstration.
In some ways, the addition of a dynamic virtual collaboration work space – a digital whiteboard – could be another antidote for Zoom fatigue. When using an effective virtual collaboration workspace, we are not just sitting there watching someone else talk – we are interacting with them. Elevate the Zoom experience from a passive activity to an active one. With the combination of a virtual collaboration space participants are using their eyes, their ears, and their mouse. As more parts of the brain are activated, creativity is unleashed, engagement increases, and real collaboration begins.
Digital collaboration tools are not a total cure for Zoom fatigue, but they can reduce its impact. Imagine feeling more engaged as we use more of our senses, move our bodies, and kick-start our minds if we used a digital collaboration platform in our “new normal” way of working.