As the pandemic took shape, remote work and technology became essential. Zoom and other video conferencing software replaced most in-person meetings, phone calls, and even SMS text messages. This shift required the use of office equipment to facilitate seamless communication. If you’ve been working remotely from your home office on a daily basis for the past three years, using Zoom to connect with colleagues and clients, you are far from alone. This experience of remote work has become increasingly common in recent years. This videoconferencing technology has quickly become ubiquitous for those who work remotely or in flexible working jobs from their home office.
If you find yourself facing Zoom fatigue while working remotely, you are not powerless in this struggle. Remote workers often encounter obstacles in their flexible working arrangements. Heed the advice set forth below and you’ll successfully minimize your zoom fatigue as you work remotely in a flexible working job. This is especially important for remote workers. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about how to minimize Zoom fatigue while working remotely. Whether you're in a time crunch or in work mode, these tips will help you stay focused and productive in your remote job.
The Causes of Zoom (or Video Conference) Fatigue
Remote work, especially in a flexible work mode, can lead to Zoom fatigue or general fatigue from using video conferencing tools. This can significantly impact your productivity and make it challenging to reach your full potential. In some cases, excessive or even regular remote work compromises the physical health of people in addition to their mental health. Remote workers often spend a significant amount of time on Zoom calls, which can have negative effects on their overall well-being.
Let's shift our attention to the why of remote work fatigue. In a recent survey, workers were asked about their work mode and the impact of remote work on their well-being. According to a recent survey, a significant percentage of remote workers engage in at least one Zoom or videoconferencing call per day. This is an important aspect for both employers and workers. A lengthy Zoom meeting, back-to-back Zoom meetings, or a general overload of remote work calls will inevitably lead to stress for flexible workers in remote work mode. However, the number of workers is not the sole factor in causing Zoom fatigue. People who work remotely or have flexible work arrangements, such as those who work from home, may experience this type of fatigue due to the high percent of time spent on video calls.
Interacting with other people on Zoom for several hours each day isn't natural for flexible workers. Engaging in a Zoom discussion makes it difficult to pick up on nonverbal cues for workers. Typically, you are looking at another person's head and nothing else but for a colorful background that is nothing more than an artificial overlay. This can hinder communication by up to 50 percent.
In some Zoom calls, only a small percent of participants have their video cameras turned on. Instead, they prefer to be heard rather than seen, leaving the screen mostly blank with just their own picture and the silhouette of another person.
Excessive sitting is another common cause of Zoom fatigue. Sit long enough while looking into your webcam or computer screen and you’ll inevitably feel tired. In fact, studies have shown that a significant percent of individuals experience fatigue after prolonged screen time. Furthermore, some meetings require multitasking or have other complex wrinkles that require significant brain power in the form of analytical thinking, problem-solving, and artful expression. These additional demands contribute to the Zoom fatigue, increasing it by a significant percent.
The combination of extensive up-close eye contact through a screen, seeing yourself on your own screen, minimal-to-no mobility, and a heightened cognitive load ultimately make interactions through a screen quite taxing. In fact, these factors can result in a significant increase in cognitive load by as much as 25 percent.
The bottom line is it is difficult to communicate through a screen, especially when juxtaposed with comparably normal face-to-face interactions that we were all accustomed to prior to the pandemic that changed the world. However, studies have shown that only a small percent of communication is conveyed through words alone.
Tips for Preventing and Managing Zoom Fatigue
You are not powerless in your quest to minimize Zoom fatigue. By implementing simple strategies, you can reduce the percent of fatigue experienced during online meetings. Be mindful of the distractions that can occur during Zoom calls, as they can impact your productivity by a significant percent. The combination of multiple Zoom call participants with the necessity of problem-solving during those calls and processing information as each person speaks is stressful. However, it doesn't have to overload your brain. It's important to find ways to manage the stress and maintain productivity, especially when the number of participants increases by percent.
As an example, it will help to add visually simple backgrounds with minimal features to your Zoom screen to increase the percent of users who find it visually appealing. Here’s a quick look at a couple more tips that will help you mitigate Zoom fatigue. Did you know that staring at screens for long periods of time can lead to eye strain and fatigue? Studies have shown that around 60 percent of adults experience symptoms of digital eye strain.
To combat this, make sure to take regular breaks from your screen and give your eyes a rest. Additionally, adjusting your screen brightness and using proper lighting can also help reduce eye strain. By implementing these tips, you can reduce the negative effects of prolonged screen time and decrease the likelihood of experiencing Zoom fatigue.
Optimize Your Workspace
An organized and optimized workspace promotes mental clarity for a sharp focus that helps you work to the best of your ability. Take a step back from your WFH workspace and view it with objectivity. If you don’t have a sit-stand desk or if your sit-stand desk is old, shift to the Tenon Desk, the first-ever modular, sit-stand smart desk for your home office. This unique desk is fully optimized to empower your productivity and increase your innovation while engaging in Zooms, phone calls and more.
But that’s not all the Beflo catalog has to offer. Add the Horizon Light Diffuser to your WFH setup and you’ll find its illumination helps you see clearly and also work more efficiently. This influx of light doesn’t strain the eyes, makes it easier to see those on the opposite end of your Zoom call and most importantly, work that much more productively. The icing on the cake is the fact that the Horizon Light Diffuser helps you remain alert while working alone at your house, condo, apartment or shared workspace.
Limit Distractions and Multitasking
The most successful business professionals recognize the importance of strictly focusing on one task at a time. While multitasking is sometimes required to succeed in specific roles, the vast majority of those who work from home find that for the most part, maintaining a sharp, concentrated focus on one project at a time brings out the best in their work.
Aside from limiting the temptation of multitasking, it will also help to limit distractions. Turn off the music, put in some earbuds until your next Zoom call starts and close the door. Let everyone in your house know that you are not to be disturbed during work hours unless there is an emergency. Above all, turn off your phone so it doesn’t pose a distraction during your Zoom calls.
Though it is difficult to resist checking your email at least once every 10-20 minutes, it is in your interest to refrain from repeatedly returning to your inbox. Dedicate three to four specific times of the day to checking and responding to email messages and you’ll maximize your productivity as you work from home.
Be especially mindful of the infinite digression that is the internet. You’ll certainly benefit from an easily accessible web browser yet it also poses a danger. Resist the temptation to digress from your work by closing all unnecessary browser tabs. Turn off your notifications, center your attention on your work with a hyper-focus on your Zoom calls and take notes so you don’t forget what was discussed.
Set Boundaries and Schedule Breaks
You can only take so many Zoom calls in a single day. Recognize your limitations, set boundaries and respect those boundaries for the sake of your mental health. Make it crystal clear that you won’t be available at all times throughout the workday. Do not schedule back-to-back Zoom calls. You need and deserve at least half an hour between Zoom calls to properly process and retain the information discussed in those calls.
Carve out some time to take breaks in between your Zoom meetings and other meetings. Use your breaks to do more than merely surf the web for a mental breakaway from your work duties. Stand up at your Tenon Desk, stretch your muscles, perform some calf raises, or march in place while sipping water for hydration or a caffeinated beverage for energy.
Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Take some breaks from the screen altogether. Head outside for a 10-20 minute walk, breathe deeply, and perform eye exercises such as moving your eyes in the shape of figure eights. Though meditating from your home office might seem a bit corny, there is no reason to be self-conscious. Put a yoga mat in the corner of your office, close your eyes, and practice meditation and/or yoga.
Breathe deeply while meditating. Eliminate all distractions by putting earbuds in your ears so you can completely lock in on the act of meditating.
Accomplishing Work-Life Balance When Working from Home
The average American has overexerted themselves at work in recent years and decades simply because our nation has a work-focused culture. If work has disrupted your sleep, raised your blood pressure or significantly altered your thought processes, take comfort in knowing you are not completely alone in your crowd. The solution to this conundrum is to establish a work-life balance.
Brainstorming, envisioning, and writing out a plan of action for a work-life balance is easier than executing that vision. The same self-discipline that has helped you achieve great things while working from home will help you do the same in your personal life. You owe it to yourself to enjoy life as a comprehensive experience that includes both work and play.
Make a promise to yourself to balance your life between work and fun, dive back into your hobbies and personal relationships, and hold firm to this newfound balance and you’ll enjoy a new lease on life.
Part of the challenge of establishing the work-life balance is leaving work in the section of the home dedicated to work. Do not move work-related paperwork or mobile computers used for work to other parts of the home. Establish boundaries between your work and your personal life, renew your focus on self-care and you’ll thrive in your professional and personal life.
Minimize Fatigue and Maximize Productivity with Beflo
Beflo makes it easy to work productively from home. Our WFH products set the stage for maintaining a sharp focus, minimizing fatigue, and boosting productivity. Recognize the importance of reducing Zoom fatigue and establishing a work-life balance, add Beflo WFH products to your home workspace and you’ll feel recharged when working from home.
In particular, our Tenon Desk allows you to work when sitting or standing and provides the adaptive comfort you need for holistic well-being and elite performance. Check out our full catalog of work-from-home accessories for yourself and it won’t take long to find several items that will help you perform at your best while working from home.