The pandemic has changed many aspects of life, and one of the aspects that remains the most modified to this day is work. Online meetings via Zoom, Google Meet, Messenger, Live, etc., became a necessity.
Some companies have decided to move away from on-site work and take advantage of the home office. As a result, zoom fatigue or zoom burnout (4) became a reality that affects the dynamics of work. We wrote this article so that you know how to recognize and overcome it.
- More than 300 million people, worldwide, use Zoom on a daily basis (1). Daily meetings conducted on this platform are reaching a significant mark.
- The constant exposure to people by having meetings via Zoom affects employees’ stress levels and mental health (7).
- When we work at home through Zoom, we are less able to disconnect from it.
What you should know about Zoom Burnout
Attending virtual meetings on time, in shape and in good spirits can be a difficult task. Being in front of a computer for 8 hours a day can irritate the eyes, affect social interaction and increase stress.
The videoconferencing experience is like having a meeting in a hall of mirrors. Having the camera on not only makes you able to see your colleagues, but to be able to see yourself next to them. All of these factors contribute to Zoom Burnout (2).
What is Zoom Burnout?
Zoom burnout can be defined as a feeling of detachment from the team during virtual meetings. As mentioned above, zoom burnout can be linked to multiple factors. Some of them are work-related and others have more to do with external issues. However, it affects the work atmosphere of the entire team.
What tells you that you have Zoom Burnout?
It is important to understand that Zoom Burnout affects the way employees approach their work. The easiest way to identify this type of burnout is to reflect on your working attitude. If on most of your working days you feel:
- Lack of energy
- High levels of stress
- A constant feeling of low productivity
We recommend you see a mental health expert. However, if these feelings and emotions are generated by the need to attend many meetings via zoom, we are talking about Zoom Burnout (3).
How does Zoom Burnout affect work dynamics?
Non-verbal communication is much stronger in face-to-face meetings. In contrast, on video conferencing platforms, this is completely eliminated. So we have to work a little harder to send or receive these signals. Non-verbal language makes conversations much lighter. For example, reducing words to a look or a gesture.
In the virtual world, exchanging glances can mean something completely different (5). This makes the dynamics within the working group more complicated and starts to create ineffective communication (7).
What can help prevent Zoom Burnout?
Being constantly in front of a computer can lead to burnout at work faster than expected, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Therefore, here are some tips to avoid this discomfort:
Use various means of communication
You can make phone calls, e-mails, shared electronic whiteboards, and work tables, among other options. Let’s try to leave meetings via Zoom only for important issues and exploit other resources.
Respect time and space limits
The virtual world made it possible not to leave the same place to go from one meeting to another, reducing the time spent not only in the office but also on travelling from home to the office itself. This made it easier to schedule one meeting after another. However, it also means that we don’t know when it is time to eat, sleep, etc.
To avoid burnout, it is necessary to respect when working hours end, lunch hours, vacations and weekends. Do not make calls during non-working hours and do not force “not mandatory, but necessary for the functioning of the team” meetings during that time.
Do not force interaction with the camera on
If it is not necessary to have the camera on, don’t force it. Allow your colleagues to take a meeting or two without turning on the camera. As a manager, you can turn on your camera and invite them to join in on their own. However, if they feel it is convenient and wish to keep them off, don’t force them. This way, you will be part of the team and the employees will feel comfortable.
Be empathetic with the team members
We all have a life beyond the computer that cannot always be seen, but can be heard sometimes. So let’s try to be empathetic to our colleagues’ surroundings. Your co-worker’s life does not stop because you have to take a meeting, but rather goes along with it. So patience and empathy are a fundamental part of coping with zoom burnout.
Let’s find other ways to integrate video into the meeting
This may be something of a remaining issue, since the camera is what stresses us. So how can we integrate it? Zoom and other platforms have created tools that help change room reality into a work-specific one. See other best video conferencing software.
For example, you can create a folder of backgrounds so that team members use the same one, and it looks like they are in the same room. These Zoom features will be very helpful in integrating video into meetings.
What tools are available to prevent Zoom Burnout?
You can download this application on your phone, add all team members and chat. It works like the WhatsApp app and can be opened on the computer without any problem. The advantage of creating a group within this app is the exclusivity of the channel. This network will only be used to make announcements, have conversations and discuss relevant work-related issues.
It allows you to disconnect from work according to the application or system you are using, so you can ignore or pay attention to the groups and conversations happening there and not ignore all the messages at other times. See other best team communication software.
Slack, like Telegram or Whatsapp, allows us to create groups, store contacts and create virtual spaces to help us manage our time.
It also has an extra function, so you can integrate multiple files. For example, Google Drive or other platforms that your team is already using. Also, each member of the team can create personalised reminders for tasks. Read more about Slack.
Figma allows you to create multiple high-quality work tables. In addition, this platform works like a giant blackboard where each working table can be dedicated to a specific topic and create brainstorming sessions together. It helps to avoid unnecessary meetings and makes the process more dynamic and visual. Read more about Figma.
It is an ideal tool to create workflows and keep track of the phase/stage in which each member of your team is working. In addition, it has a very graphical and simple interface, and you can easily visualize the tasks or projects according to your needs. It enables you to organize the time within which the project should be completed. Read more about Monday.com.
Trello works through boards where you can visualize ideas, assign tasks, comment on other people’s work and have a long-term view of the project’s goal. Read more about Trello.
The pandemic has helped employees reduce their commuting hours, but it has not helped them feel more efficient. If you have symptoms that are caused by the number of meetings that pile up day after day, you are probably experiencing Zoom fatigue. However, if you are constantly experiencing symptoms, it is necessary to see your doctor.
However, don’t let Zoom fatigue determine how efficient you are. Instead, follow our advice, discuss it with your colleagues and manager, and take advantage of this new opportunity to enjoy your work without fatigue.
1. ZOOM. “90-Day Security Plan Progress Report: April 22.” Zoom Blog, August 2, 2021. https://blog.zoom.us/90-day-security-plan-progress-report-april-22/.
2. Martins, Andrew. “How to Identify and Avoid ‘Zoom Burnout’.” Business News Daily, August 24, 2022. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/15728-zoom-burnout.html.
3. Samara, Omar, and Anthony Monzon. “Zoom Burnout amidst a Pandemic: Perspective from a … – Sage Journals.” SAGE JOURNALS, June 24, 2021.
4. Massot, Dolors. “‘Zoom Burnout’: Ideas for Overcoming Virtual Meeting Fatigue.” Aleteia.org, June 13, 2020. https://es.aleteia.org/2020/06/13/zoom-burnout-ideas-para-superar-la-fatiga-de-las-reuniones-virtuales/.
5. Jiang, Manyu. “The Reason Zoom Calls Drain Your Energy.” BBC Worklife. BBC, April 22, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200421-why-zoom-video-chats-are-so-exhausting.
6. Lopez, by Lucia Garcia. “Las Mejores Apps y Herramientas Para Trabajar En Equipo.” EDUCATION 3.0, May 11, 2022. https://www.educaciontrespuntocero.com/recursos/herramientas-para-trabajar-en-grupo/.
7. Reinach Wolf, Carolyn. “Virtual Platforms Are Helpful Tools but Can Add to Our Stress.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, May 14, 2020. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-desk-the-mental-health-lawyer/202005/virtual-platforms-are-helpful-tools-can-add-our-stress.
8. Ornelas, Carlos, and Rubí Román Salgado. “Four Consequences of Zoom Fatigue and How to Combat It.” OtrasVocesenEducacion.org, April 1, 2021. https://otrasvoceseneducacion.org/archivos/tag/bienestar.