You got yet another email about a new Zoom conference call. That is the third call for the next day, not to mention the rest of the workweek.
If you feel that you have too many Zoom calls, welcome to the world of Zoom fatigue. (Yes, it is a thing, thanks to the rise of remote work).
What is Zoom Fatigue?
According to a Stanford study, there are four main reasons for Zoom fatigue. First is the eye strain from constant eye contact, including watching yourself at the screen as the second. The higher cognitive load from constantly trying to decipher gestures and body language also plays a role, as does the reduced mobility.
If you are often fatigued, you may have good reasons to start hating videoconferencing.
From a convenient tool that helps your schedule quick and effective worldwide meetings, the Zoom cloud app is now a symbol of wasted time for many.
But there are solutions to cutting down Zoom conference time or replacing remote video meetings with other communication altogether. Let’s make the best of the world of Zoom calls by helping you create and stick to new remote communication habits.
Tired of Zoom Conference Calls? Try This Instead
80% of employees use video calls for one on one meetings. Remote work is accelerating, as almost a third of the people over 15 are ready to work from home – that is enough Zoom time for everyone to get tired of the popular app.
If you and your team spend several hours a day communicating via video, it is time to take action and make your work more productive. Here is how to replace extensive communication with active time:
1. Assign meeting time.
Decide when you will schedule meetings and stick to your schedule. For example, meeting time can be noon every day or every Tuesday and Thursday at 3 pm. Use an appointment setting app to avoid duplicating meetings (Calendly or Acuity, for example). Let the app plan for time zones, too.
2. Create screen distance and position flexibility.
Just because your screen is positioned in one part of the room, it doesn’t mean that you have to remain in one position. Your screen should be between 20 and 40 inches. Get a larger screen, if you can, it will expand your workspace. Mount an external camera further from the screen so that you can walk around the room or in the chair.
Get an external keyboard and mouse to move around the room and change positions. (You don’t have to switch during meetings. Change the position for the new Zoom conference call.)
3. Be frugal with the number of Zoom calls.
Keep the Zoom conference for must-dos: team meetings, essential clients, onboarding staff, and introductory sessions. Avoid giving your time to everyone. Offer a communication alternative that doesn’t strain your eyes or places a cognitive load on your brain.
4. Ask for stimuli minimization.
The more people are in the Zoom call, the more gestures, faces, and tones you have to adjust to – adding home furnishing to the mix creates another distraction. Send a polite request before the meeting asking people to minimize on-screen stimuli with a clear background and minimum noise, if possible. Do the same yourself to help others with fewer distractions.
5. Use standup meetings.
Book standing meetings (borrowed from agile scrum daily meetings) for quick checkups that don’t require writing or using the virtual screen in a similar way. Sitting makes you sluggish. People are more motivated to be on point when they stand.
6. Move status updates to asynchronous check-ins.
You can work even smarter if you apply asynchronous communication with the help of chatbots. Instead of requiring long reports during Zoom meetings, ask for quick status updates for each team member via check-in messages.
7. Set a video off time for team meetings.
If you need to participate in long meetings such as educational sessions or product requirements discussions, ensure you have video-off slots for everyone. These are not the typical breaks you take between meetings, but small pauses of 5 or 10 minutes after every 20 or 30 minutes to give people a chance to ease down the meeting stress.
8. Insert between-meeting breaks.
Give yourself at least 15 minutes between meetings with two meetings. Even better, make it half an hour to maximize productivity by investing in some healthy self-interest. Successfully managing self-interest brings economic benefits not only for you but for your team and the economy at large, as well. Your time is better spent elsewhere, like working on your strategy.
9. Sidestep multitasking.
Multitasking doesn’t work – it is as simple as that. When people think they are multitasking, they are actually focusing only on one thing at every moment. The scattered focus across many tasks diminishes creativity and makes you less productive. Therefore, don’t do other work during Zoom conference calls, thinking that you will accomplish more. You won’t.
10. Make presence optional.
Send optional invites. Mandatory meetings for employees that don’t have much to contribute to a specific meeting topic are time wasters. Do you want to force people to attend meetings feeling worthless, or you’d rather have them spend their time elsewhere? Inviting everyone is a common trap for leaders who aren’t used to effective task delegation.
11. Make phone calls or send emails.
For one-on-one meetings, use straightforward communication via email or on the phone. A simple phone call can save you long chat message trains. Email is great for formal communication – for instance – when signing contracts – or sending a critical message that requires approval or confirmation and has many high-risk factors.
12. Use video recordings.
If you want to avoid constant back-and-forth communication but want to deliver a clear short message, use a video recording. Unlike videoconferencing in Zoom calls, video recordings have the advantage of:
- Fewer interruptions
- Leaving the person on the other side time to think about the response
- Making training videos and tutorials
- Communication confidence – you are confident that you’ve given the desired message
- Being shorter and to the point
- Introducing more features from multiple apps
You can use a video recording app to save your message. For example, the same video tutorial can be used many times for less cost – Zoom conferences tend to be expensive if you do many of them.
The video below explains how to be more productive with remote meetings – see for yourself how to save time with these performance hacks for remote teams:
13. Activate participants.
Avoid scheduling vague meetings. Vague meetings are those that have been scheduled for the sake of it without a clear plan. Play the questions and answers game to ensure the plan is clear and necessary. The participants should elaborate on why they need a meeting in the first place.
Many Zoom meetings don’t need to be held at all. They could easily give space to the communication alternatives mentioned above, such as chat or video messages.
However, don’t forget that your team may need social time. In remote work, people complain that they miss feeling part of a team – do these team energizers to establish a social sense of your team. But make a difference between meetings to socialize and meetings for the purpose of information.
Save your energy and accomplish more – listen how on the Virtual Frontier Podcast below:
Reduce Zoom Conference Calls with Clarity of Purpose
Any communication tool, including Zoom conference calls, should be used for effectiveness, clarification, and productivity.
Give accent to the clarity of purpose when you choose how you communicate, and you can simply reduce Zoom time and rely on the alternatives instead.
In contrast, videoconferencing is sometimes irreplaceable. But if you think about it, it absolutely deserves making some cutbacks over and there – make them.
Are you looking for a solution to your business to maximize productivity? Let us recreate your business strategy together – click below to learn more.
(Featured images by Alexandra_Koch)