With COVID-19 forcing many organizations’ workforces to work remotely until further notice, many of us find ourselves in back-to-back meetings throughout the work day—which have come to replace a lot of interactions that would have taken place in the office.
Given the technology available to us today, it makes sense that video conferencing has become the default communication during this pandemic to facilitate a sense of connectedness even when colleagues are far apart. However, it’s become increasingly common that many of us are feeling burnt out after sitting through constant video conferencing meetings five days a week for the foreseeable future.
Below are some tips to help you avoid video conferencing fatigue:
1. Set expectations as the host. If you are hosting the meeting, let participants know at the beginning of the meeting that if they don’t want to turn on their video, they do not have to. Sometimes if everyone else has their video on, other participants inevitably feel pressured to do the same. Video conferencing isn’t appropriate for all meeting types. While one-on-one meetings are more fitting for video, consider making larger meetings like office-wide calls video optional or screen share only.
2. Sharing content? Turn the video off. Our data shows that meetings with screen share have just as high engagement as a video meeting. Additionally, everyone having their video on while someone is sharing content can actually serve as a distraction. Our advice, for a content rich meeting, start with video on and then instruct everyone to switch off video when you screen share.
3. Don’t turn on the camera when you are in listen mode. Let’s face it. There are meetings we are invited to more as an FYI where we do not have to actively participate. Identify those meetings in your day and if you need to do the dishes, or go for a walk, just let people know you’ll be in listen mode for this one.
4. Incorporate transition periods between meetings. In our homes, we are significantly less active than we are when we are commuting, walking to get lunch or run errands, and walking between meetings. In fact, sometimes we can spend all day in one chair in back to back meetings. Building transition periods in-between video meetings can also help refresh us – you can stretch, get some water or a snack or even do some quick exercises. All of this helps us set boundaries and better transition between our private to professional selves.
5. Always ask yourself if a task actually needs a meeting. Not all tasks or decisions require a meeting to push things forward so before you book a meeting think about whether you can move the project forward over chat, email, or a quick phone call and give your colleagues the gift of one less video meeting on their calendars.
In the words of a Fuze partner:
“I encourage our employees to actually leave their houses in the morning so they can physically walk in to start working. It really does help to reset the day.” - Meg Toups, President, BlueSky IT Partners
Working from home can be challenging to many of us. It’s important to prioritize self-care and our own wellness if we are beginning to feel burnt out. Using the practical tips listed above, you can help fight video conferencing fatigue and remain strong throughout this challenging time. You can read more about best practices for working remotely in our Ultimate Guide to Remote Work: