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For Zoom Calls That SEWT You

It’s funny when we look back to January, zoom calls weren’t a thing, and when used as a verb, zoom was more commonly used in a sentence like, “I just need to zoom to the store.” Back in January, zoom calls were a novelty, not the norm. Fast forward four months, and for many, the majority of us our working day is spent on either zoom, teems, or face time. 

As professionals, instead of rushing from meeting to meeting, we’re now fighting the fatigue of “zooming” all day. (Who would have thought that sitting behind a computer screen participating in sedentary meetings would be so exhausting??)

You’re not imagining it. Zoom Fatigue is real. Here in Canada, and across the globe, professionals working and meeting via zoom chats are finding that they’re now more exhausted than usual after “long day at work.” Behind your Zoom Fatigue, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. Our fatigue is the result of how we process and absorb information while on video. In real life, we can engage and interact with co-workers, partners, and clients. 

Unfortunately, “Zoom Fatigue” is only emphasized by work at home arrangements, never-ending email notifications, the black hole of Google, coupled with the desire to text a friend, reply to slack feed, or proofread a post, staying focused in meetings is now more challenging. Despite our best intentions, it’s hard to listen to the conversation when we’re elsewhere – and harder yet when everyone else on the call is elsewhere. With video on, it’s far too easy to get lost in the bookshelves of a colleague. 

Even with businesses and offices opening up, it looks like Zoom meetings are here to stay. With Zoom calls being part of our new normal, we wanted to share some of our tips for keeping “Zoom Fatigue” at bay.

Our tips, tailored especially for avoiding Zoom Fatigue:

·      When on a zoom call, single task – No matter how much of a pro you are at multi-tasking, on zoom calls, it’s hard to focus when you’re working on other projects in the background. While on a call, turn off your email notifications, silence your phone, and treat the call like a traditional meeting. 

·      Keep an  “IRL” Notepad – When on a Zoom call, opt for an IRL notebook to keep notes. Writing notes on a piece of paper will help you not only focus on the call but will help you remember your meeting take-aways.

·      Schedule a Recess – Elementary schools schedule recesses to help kids concentrate while in class. Apply this tip from your grade school days to your workdays and schedule a couple of recesses throughout your workday. By taking a 15-minute break (and a walk around the block) from your computer, you’ll be ready to focus on your next call.

·      Reduce Stimuli – If you’re finding yourself getting lost in your peers’ backgrounds, switch to speaker view or turn off the video feature. The less you have to get distracted by, the less likely you’ll be to get distracted.

·      Choose A Neutral Background – Do your peers a favor and opt for a neutral background for your video call. If you’re not using a virtual background, opt to take your meetings in a room with a blank wall or a simple poster. If you’re wanting to upload a virtual background, Destination Canada has some beautiful Canada inspired image backgrounds free for anyone to use.

·      Have an Agenda – Before you hop on a Zoom call, ask the host for a clear agenda. Having an easy to follow agenda is your best way to ensure your call stays on track.

·      Turn Off Self View – Most of us are not used to staring at ourselves on a screen all day. If you’re finding yourself beating up on yourself for how messy your hair looks, or that weird chip tooth you have, turn off yourself view and just focus on your colleagues. (P.s. Remember you’re your own worst critique). 

·      Have Boundaries in Place –Before you say “accept” to all meeting invites, check your calendar and pay attention to time boundaries. Set a hard end time for your zoom meetings each day. After each call, give yourself enough time to digest the meeting and reflect on your takeaways. Instead of taking one more call at the end of each working day, use your time to allow yourself to get organized for the next day.

On your next zoom call, give these tips tailored especially to avoid Zoom Fatigue a try – and let us know how they work. If there’s any topic you’d like us to cover in our next post email us general@sewt.ca

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