Working from home is a lot more common than the average person may think. Working professionals from all arenas have found themselves embracing a new mindset in order to successfully manage their education and careers from afar. The transition to conducting more business through Microsoft, Google, Skype, and Zoom virtual meetings sounds like an amazing opportunity, a lot of people struggle with it. The overexposure to these meetings is having an adverse effect for many people – so what can be done about it?
The Science Behind “Zoom Fatigue”
“Zoom fatigue,” as the phenomenon is commonly dubbed, is affecting workers across the world. When we move our offices to purely digital spheres, we are increasing our daily screen time and sacrificing our personal connections to fellow coworkers. By moving to Zoom virtual meetings we lose non-verbal cues that we rely on for natural, easy interactions with our coworkers. Instead, we’ve replaced them with a virtual medium that eliminates most of those cues, while introducing latency and blurred video to the mix.1 When your entire job is performed over Skype, FaceTime, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, or similar platforms, you are constantly forcing your mind to work at its “normal” meeting capacity while depriving it of the information it needs to do so. This is fine once in a while – certainly video chatting has had a positive impact on our world – but as the months go by, it naturally becomes harder to deal with.
Losing that sense of connection to others can take a toll, but there’s another issue with prolonged at-home working: burnout. Blurring the lines between being at work and being at home can easily lead to working more – answering an email at 8:00pm and 8:00am feel the same if you’re receiving both from your own house. In the meantime, we are also using screens a lot more than before. Consider that most people use their phones, tablets, or TVs for leisure means entire days are filled with constant moving from one screen to the next. This can lead to poorer sleep,2 strained eyes,3 and difficulty relaxing.
Feeling Better After Zoom Virtual Meetings
A lot of the problems that can arise from virtual meetings begin with the idea that working from home can and should be like working from the office. On an ordinary “working” day, a morning filled with back-to-back meetings is a bit of a pain, but isn’t terrible to deal with. When working from home, a full morning of Zoom virtual meetings is a much worse idea. So the first and most important thing you can do when working remotely is to take breaks, especially to step outside. A little fresh air can go a long way, and there is nothing wrong with needing to move a few meetings around so you can get to them with your best ideas and clearest head.
Other things you can do include:
- Take actual lunch breaks. Just because you can eat at your desk or work in your kitchen doesn’t mean you should. Everyone is entitled to a lunch break – use yours!
- Go for short walks. Walking is a truly amazing form of physical exercise; it can help to promote a healthy weight, strengthen your skeletomuscular system, and keep your spirits high.4 This can also help to increase your tolerance for virtual meetings.
- Set a schedule and stick with it. Without a commute or change in scenery, it can be difficult to mentally discern “being in the ‘office’” with “being at home.” Try to organize your days to look similar to one another; start at the same time, stop at the same time, and schedule meetings for roughly the same time. If your mind is prepared to be in a virtual meeting, it will be that much easier to accept and work with that environment.
- Consider other forms of communication. Remember that not everything has to be done on Zoom or virtual meetings! Productivity apps like ClickUp and Slack can make it a lot easier to communicate with your team over matters like project updates and one-off questions and answers. Texting, phone calls, and email all work great too, giving you a break from the same exhausting medium.
eSmartr also offers a unique solution to this phenomenon, in the form of the Cognitive Boost Technology™ in our sleeves. The sleeve is designed to use haptic perception to send signals to the brain that promote enhanced focus and decreased stress. Wearing an eSmartr sleeve while working from home can make it easier to get in the zone and stay there, limiting distractions and enhancing at-home workflow. You can explore our collections here, and learn more about the technology here!
Of course, maintaining a healthy work-at-home lifestyle goes beyond even Cognitive Boost Technology; taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do to overcome fatigue in your many virtual meetings. Increasing bouts of exercise and taking breaks from the screen are a great start. For us at eSmartr, we want to promote a healthy lifestyle for everyone who is struggling with Zoom fatigue and working from home. Your own health and wellbeing should always be your priority, and that prioritization will go a long way towards helping you get the best out of your day, whether you’re working or taking some much-needed time for yourself.