You may have heard this term being used a lot lately, and that is because Zoom fatigue is beginning to become a big deal. In today’s work climate people are glued to their screens, taking meetings back to back and barely going out. This is bound to put a strain on your eyes, mind, and eventually body.
What is Zoom fatigue?
Zoom fatigue is the cumulative result of constant eye strain, low blood circulation, dehydration and a number of social stances. Basically, everything that happens because of sitting in front of your screen all day.
Not only is your screen putting a strain on your eyes, but this is supplemented with sitting in one location and not moving around. Another point to consider is the social aspect of working from home. Since we associate our home as ‘separate’ from our workspace, the constant use of it in our daily work has started to take a toll on us. We feel like we don’t have a place to go to after the work is done.
Is Zoom fatigue real?
In today’s climate, Zoom is the name of the game; there are no two ways about it. Video conferencing is keeping our jobs going as well as keeping industries functioning. Now, more than ever, we are glued to our computer screens, having meeting after meeting.
Because of the economic climate, people are taking their jobs even more seriously. This means no time to walk around, or even take a proper lunch break. While we have known about the effects of computer screens for a while, the combined stimuli of economic pressure, long work days, unhealthy eating is all adding up to something far worse.
So. yes, Zoom fatigue is very real, and we need to address it.
How to fight Zoom fatigue
There is no one way to deal with Zoom fatigue, since we cannot completely cut out screen time from our workday. However, you could try a combination of these solutions to the best of your ability.
Use a phone call when you can
Since the scene is clearly one of the sources of Zoom fatigue, you should take any chance you get to look away from it. One way to do this is by avoiding Zoom calls altogether and user regular calls instead. While this may cause a hamper in productivity, the gain is worth more than the loss in this case.
USe Blue light shield glasses
The usage of computer glasses has been on the rise for the past couple of years. But in today’s climate, they are a necessity. These glasses filter out the blue light that is emitted from our screens. This same blue light is attributed to sleeplessness and nausea. Although most computers now have an inbuilt option to filter out the blue light, a little extra protection never hurts anyone.
Switch to Zoom audio calls
If you must use Zoom, since it is company-wide policy, try switching to using audio calls only, and keeping your video feed off. There are 2 benefits attributed to this cause. For one, you can keep your eyes closed during the call, allowing your eyes some much-needed rest.
The second point has to do with the social pressure that group video calls impend on the users. It has been noted that users have increased levels of stress while they know they are being watched. A fix for this could be to turn your camera on at the start of a video conference and then turn it off.
Avoid Gallery view
As mentioned above, the strain of focusing on multiple parties at the same time is more pronounced than we think. Luckily Zoom has an ‘Active speaker’ video layout. This layout highlights only the Active speaker while keeping the other participants minimized. Alternatively, you could pin a single user to be the highlighted video feed.
Exercise, Yoga before work
Just do a little bit Exercise is known to release endorphins in your body. These ‘happiness hormones’ stay with you, and keep your spirits up. Plus it gives you a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning!
Get up and walk about (use a timer)
Sitting in one place for too long is definitely not good for you. Standing up every once in a while is recommended for people who have desk jobs. This has been attributed to lower blood pressure, less weight gain and even better moods. There are several apps available to remind you to take a break and walk around.
Try out Big Stretch Reminder, a free windows application that reminds you to take a break and walk around. The app can be customized to remind you at fixed intervals. Every time you see a reminder, get up and take a small walk. You can also customize the notification bubble with messages to remind you to drink water!
Download: Big stretch Reminder
Staying hydrated has been linked to increased productivity and better focus. Since we aren’t moving around a lot, we tend to think that we don’t need to drink as much water However, our body processes still need water to function. In fact, one of the side effects of dehydration is fatigue.
Use the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is an Italian work management technique that employs taking breaks after specific time intervals. The premise is to set a 25-minute timer, on your phone or using the Big stretch Reminder application. During this time, all you focus on is your work. Once the timer rings, take a 5-minute break where you refrain from thinking about work. After 4 such work sessions, take a 20-minute break and walk around.
Stretch, stretch, stretch
Sitting in the same position for long periods will eventually cause your muscles to atrophy. That is why it is recommended to stretch at your desk. Similar to exercising, stretching releases endorphins in the body. That is why a nice long stretch when you wake up in the morning feels so good.
Try and stretch before every meeting, and if you can, convince your colleagues to stretch along with you.
While Zoom fatigue is not as serious as the current pandemic sweeping the world, it is best to keep it in check. Remember to create a distinction between your work like and home life. At the end of the day, turn off your computer, before you turn it back on to surf the web for fun. These distinctions are important and help you segment your day to day life better.
Besides, we already have enough on our plates at the moment, without adding another stressor.