How Zoom Fatigue Could Be Affecting Your People

Since the pandemic hit, forcing many staff to move to homeworking, the majority of businesses have relied on digital communication and video calls to keep connected with colleagues and clients.

This has resulted in many experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’ – a term which the Psychiatric Times describes as the tiredness or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication.

44% of workers say that they have experienced video call fatigue since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Robert Half.
According to the research, which was conducted late in 2020, 15% confirmed that they found virtual meetings inefficient and exhausting and preferred to communicate via alternative, more traditional channels such as email or phone.

How can leaders combat ‘Zoom fatigue’?

For business leaders, combatting ‘Zoom fatigue’ is crucial to prevent burnout and maintain high levels of employee engagement and productivity among the workforce.

To help combat this this, employers should encourage their teams to take regular screen breaks throughout the day and ensure that they are getting fresh air.

Last year, the CEO of financial software provider Intelliflo, Nick Eatock, told WIRED that the firm rolled out an initiative called ‘Walkie Talkies’.

He explained: “People can go for a walk when dialling in to some meetings where laptops aren’t required.

“It seems to work well to get fresh air and a change of scenery,” he added.

In addition to this, leaders could try an initiative like that implemented by Citigroup, where their CEO designated a Zoom-free day; alternatively establish one day per week when meetings don’t take place.

The Guardian reported that Jane Fraser, the new Chief Executive of Citigroup, told staff that the last working day of the week would be known as “Zoom-free Fridays’.
In a memo to staff, which was first shared by Financial News, Fraser reportedly said: “I know, from your feedback and my own experience, the blurring of lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic workday have taken a toll on our wellbeing. It’s simply not sustainable.”

She continued: “After listening to colleagues around the world, it became apparent that we need to combat the ‘Zoom fatigue’ that many of us feel, so I overcame my initial resistance to this idea,” she continued.

With data from the National Bureau of Economic Research finding that since the pandemic hit, the number of meetings increased by 13%, encouraging staff to have one meeting-free day per week could be beneficial.
Finally, if and when video meetings do occur, it is crucial to prevent them from overrunning longer than is necessary, otherwise this could exacerbate feelings of fatigue.

As such, a recent Forbes article recommended that to keep meetings on track, an agenda should be set and shared with attendees prior to the meeting. This will ensure that all staff know what is expected of them, what will be covered and how long it will last.

Another thing to try is not just opting for the standard meeting duration on the invite of 30 or 60 minutes – if you have that long, you’ll no doubt fill it, so set the duration for a shorter period and you’ll be amazed and what can be covered when you have a shorter window.

If you’re finding it tricky to engage your people then get in touch with us at The HR Consultants and we can work with you to find solutions to your people problems.