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Virtual Meeting Fatigue: What It Is, Symptoms, & Ways To Reduce It



If your workplace is sticking with remote or hybrid operations, you probably have a full schedule of Zoom meetings every week. As a result, you may be one of many workers to experience Zoom fatigue every time you click "launch meeting" or put yourself on mute. Here's what you need to know about this new condition and how you can manage it.


What Is Virtual Meeting Fatigue?


Zoom meeting fatigue isn't a serious health condition, but sometimes it may feel like one. Virtual meeting fatigue occurs whenever you've just finished a bunch of Zoom meetings and feel burnt out or too tired to do anything else. You may feel like you can't focus or need to go to bed.


Anyone can get Zoom meeting fatigue, from kindergarteners doing their schoolwork online to CEOs running their companies remotely. People who don't think their jobs matter or who feel disconnected from their teams are most likely to experience it.


Symptoms of Meeting Fatigue


Before you can think about how to minimize Zoom fatigue, it's essential to identify the key symptoms. The first and most apparent is tiredness, especially when you've slept a whole night and aren't stressed about anything. If the thought of signing into another Zoom call is enough to make you yawn, you probably have meeting fatigue. Keep in mind that this type of fatigue is different from chronic fatigue, a medical condition that requires a diagnosis from your doctor.


Participating less in your meetings is another meeting fatigue symptom:

  • Turning off your camera

  • Using the chat function instead of unmuting yourself to share your thoughts

  • Watching the clock

  • Going on social media or web surfing


These behaviors could indicate that your job isn't engaging enough, but when paired with constant feelings of tiredness, they're likely related to Zoom burnout.


Ways To Reduce It


Once you notice symptoms of Zoom fatigue syndrome, you're on the right track to getting control over this condition. First, look at your schedule and identify any Zoom meetings you can cut. For example, are you in charge of meetings that you could handle over the phone or via email? Are you attending a happy hour on Zoom this Friday when it might be better to take some time for yourself?


When you've reduced your Zoom meeting load as much as possible, do your best to stay engaged in the meetings you have to attend. Close all tabs besides your meeting, silence your phone, or put it on "do not disturb," and use headphones if your background is distracting. Take notes in a notebook, and look for ways to contribute.


Some researchers think that Zoom burnout happens because people feel like they're being watched throughout each meeting. Turn off your camera or use a virtual background to obscure your surroundings if you start to feel this way. Hiding your face isn't always an option, especially if you're meeting with a few people. For company-wide calls, though, most people won't mind if your camera is off.


When you're working out times for new meetings, schedule them strategically. If you're a night owl, avoid having Zoom calls at 9 a.m. If you have a slew of Zoom meetings on the same day, stagger them throughout your work hours to have time set aside for your work. Prioritize having ten-minute breaks between meetings if a staggered schedule isn't possible.


Don't let remote meeting fatigue sap your energy and enthusiasm for work. Instead, put these tips for reducing Zoom burnout into practice.


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