Fighting Zoom Fatigue

I stumbled upon this article earlier this week, with the headline “Even the CEO of Zoom Says He Has Zoom Fatigue”. Over the past year, many of us, myself included, have had to get used to Zoom becoming our new boardroom. The change happened rapidly, and the reality of remote work had to be grasped as quickly. Fast forward a couple of months, and back-to-back Zoom meetings have become something we’re now familiar with.

During this time the term “Zoom fatigue” was coined, as the actual feeling of this extraordinary fatigue set in.

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I started to consider this fatigue, and why it was being felt by so many. Some of my thinking was around the fact that, when we’re on Zoom, we’re so exclusively close to each other, even though not physically. This, in itself, is exhausting.

In my latest Speaking to Saffron podcast, I engaged with Janet Booysen, who is a Marketing Executive at Builders Warehouse. Janet discussed an interesting insight which she’d gained because of Zoom. She talks about how initially, there was an insistence of colleagues having their video on during meetings. This requirement is overwhelming for many. This, in some cases, leads to anxiety because you’re able to see yourself in a meeting.

This Forbes article explains this well in saying: “In the default mode on many video-conferencing platforms including Zoom, participants view themselves as well as the other attendees. This makes online meetings quite different from in-person meetings, where participants can’t see themselves during the meeting.” This “self-focused attention” leads to someone overthinking their appearance.

Other reasons for Zoom fatigue setting may be:

  • Because of back-to-back Zoom meetings, we land up moving less, becoming tired and uncomfortable quickly.

  • The cognitive load is much higher on video calls, than experienced when meeting in person or over the phone.

  • The close up eye contact is tiring, which is something we are not used to in face-to-face meetings.

When considering how each Ennea-type deals with Zoom, and Zoom fatigue, the following comes to mind for me:

Type One – this Ennea-type might become frustrated with signal glitches and unproductive meetings. Keeping meetings with Type Ones short and to the point is the best way to avoid Zoom fatigue.

Type Two – the type Two might become frustrated with the missing “real-life, human element” that Zoom cannot give them. A socially distanced, in-person catch up with a type Two is something I recommend. Remember to ask them how they’re coping with all the changes experienced too!

Type Three – although the type Three might seemingly love the spotlight, Zoom fatigue for this type, in terms of the “self-focused attention” I’ve discussed, is exhausting for the Three. If need be, let them keep their camera off if that’s what they want in a particular meeting.

Type Four – at this stage of remote work, the type Four is missing the human connection that came so naturally to them in the workplace. Meeting with this type in person is also important, so pencil that into your diary ASAP!

Type Five – the type Five has probably already researched this type of fatigue, and has an abundance of knowledge on the topic. Ask them how they’re dealing with the fatigue, and if they offer you advice on the subject, take it!

Type Six – committed to the idea of productive remote working comes naturally to this type, but if you notice that they’re experiencing this fatigue, it’s time to change things up, slowly. This will help the Six cope with an overwhelming anxiety they might be experiencing.

Type Seven – always lighting up the Zoom room, the type Seven has probably adapted to working remotely really well. However, if they start to experience Zoom fatigue, it’s time to change things up, quickly. Keep meetings interesting, quick and mentally stimulating.

Type Eight – if you work with a type Eight, it’s likely they have already told you how they’re feeling about Zoom meetings. Take what they say seriously, before they become frustrated and uninterested.

Type Nine – engaging the type Nine personally is important. They’re always a pleasure to have in group meetings, but, as with a few of the other types, finding out and really listening to how they’re doing will help them fight this fatigue.

With speak of the third wave setting in, it is likely that Zoom meetings are here to stay for a little longer. If you are able to put the above into practice, please let me know if you notice a difference in your colleagues moods. Practicing dealing with each type specifically is a game-changer, and the outcome can only be positive in the long run.

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